Tahoe Resources reported in early March 2012 that construction at its flagship Escobal silver project, 70 km southeast of Guatemala City, Guatemala, is on schedule for mill commissioning in the second half of 2013 and commercial production in the first quarter of 2014. The original capital estimate of $326.6 million is on-budget, and the project is fully financed. The operating plan calls for production of 317 million oz of silver over an 18-year mine life.

As of early March, all underground equipment was on-site, and all long lead-time items had been ordered. Procurement for the mine and mill was on schedule and budget, and major plant components had begun to arrive. Civil work was under way, foundations for the crushing plant and ball mill had been formed, concrete placement had begun, and warehouse steel construction was well advanced. Upgrades to the San Rafael substation and on-site power lines and electrical distribution were nearly complete.

Underground development is planned to be completed in time for mill commissioning in the second half of 2013.

Tahoe President and CEO Kevin McArthur said, “We have seen impressive exploration results over the last year, indicating the potential for future mine expansion. In the second quarter of this year, we expect to update the mineral resource and to develop a plan to increase future throughput from the currently planned 3,500 mt/d to 5,000 mt/d. The expansion plan would be financed with internal cash flow and completed within five years of mine start-up.”