The Juanicipio project (above) is a joint venture between Fresnillo and MAG Silver. (Photo: Fresnillo)

This week, Mexican miner Fresnillo said it is expecting to start production at the Juanicipio mine, a joint project in the northern part of the country with Canada’s MAG Silver, earlier than expected. This raises its expectations for initial production at an additional cost of $45 million.

Fresnillo, which cut its production forecasts four times last year, has been trying to reduce capital investment and costs after its earnings almost halved in the first six months of 2019. However, the company said it now sees Juanicipio will reach 85% of planned capacity in the fourth quarter of 2021, above the previous estimate of 65%.

The company also said that the preoperative capital cost of $395 million, estimated at the beginning of 2018, was revised to US$440 million.

Fresnillo builds, develops and operates the Juanicipio mine, of which it has a 56% stake, while the remaining 44% is owned by Canada’s MAG Silver.

The mining project, located in the Fresnillo municipality, in northern Zacatecas State, is expected to produce 11.7 million ounces (oz) of silver and 43,500 oz of gold per year once it is in operation. Overall, Fresnillo produced 51.8 million oz of silver and 875,913 oz of gold in 2019.