SilverCrest Metals said its Las Chispas mine, located in Sonora, Mexico, achieved commercial production effective November 1, 2022. That declaration was based on a continuous 2-month period of operating the processing plant at a minimum of 80% of its nameplate design capacity of 1,250 metric tons per day (mt/d) or 1,000 mt/d and showing a combined gold and silver recovery or silver equivalent (AgEq) recovery of greater than 85%. The commissioning period was from September 1, 2022, through October 31, 2022, where the plant processed 62,146 mt of ore for an average of 1,019 mt/d. For the same period, the metallurgical recovery averaged 96.7% gold and 96.8% silver, or 96.7% AgEq.
SilverCrest COO Pierre Beaudoin congratulated the Las Chispas site team and contractors, who he said played an instrumental role in achieving this milestone on the planned schedule. “We have been impressed by the early performance of the Las Chispas processing plant and continue to work to fine tune and complete the ramp up,” Beaudoin said. “Our underground mining team also continues to ramp up the operation with a focus on refinement of mining methods and implementation of grade control procedures.”
Construction of the processing plant at Las Chispas was initiated in February 2021 and was completed on time and on budget in May 2022 with a target of declaring commercial production in Q4 2022. Throughout commissioning, the plant performed in line or ahead of all feasibility study metrics while processing ore primarily sourced from stockpiles including recently mined underground ore. The underground mine is also progressing its ramp-up with a target to exit 2022 at a rate of 600 to 700 mt/d.
“Moving Las Chispas from discovery to production in less than seven years is a monumental achievement,” SilverCrest CEO Eric Fier said. “We now look forward to finishing our ramp-up to designed levels, and releasing an updated technical report in H1 2023.”