Jeronimo is located in northern Chile approximately 30 kilometres south southwest of El Salvador at an elevation of 3,800 metres above sea level. The first mineral reserve estimate was declared of 1.6 million ounces, based on the pre-feasibility study recently completed on a fully consolidated basis. Based on the Company's current ownership interest (57%), attributable mineral reserves are 0.93 million ounces. Approximately one third of the mineral reserves declared were a direct result of conversion from mineral resources via infill drilling. The Company is evaluating processing methods for better recoveries, which are anticipated to optimize the project economics. The Company will also be incorporating the impact of credits from the sale of manganese which was not included in the pre-feasibility, as well as the positive impact of other off-take products. The mineral resource remains open at depth and has potential to add significantly to resources.
Results of the evaluation of the different processing options and optimizations will be part of the feasibility study which is expected to be delivered by the end of 2011. The decision to proceed, after that time, will be based on continued positive results from a full feasibility and further consolidation of the ownership of Jeronimo, both of which are expected to occur.
OUTLOOK AND STRATEGY
The Company continues to focus on building sustainable and reliable gold production through optimizing existing operations, expanding current, near-term and in-development production plans, developing new operations and advancing its exploration properties. All of the Company's operating mines are in known, stable jurisdictions in mining-friendly countries including Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. Three of the Company's mines in development are in Brazil with the fourth new mine located in Mexico, adhering to the corporate strategy of pursuing growth in mining-friendly and stable jurisdictions. Through the steady path of organic growth and a disciplined approach in cost management, the Company expects to succeed in attaining its objectives set for the near-term and beyond.
The Company is maintaining the production and cost guidance previously stated in its January 11, 2011 press release.
Production is expected to be in the range of approximately 1.04 million to 1.14 million gold equivalent ounces in 2011. Annual silver production is expected at approximately 9 million ounces, and copper production is expected to be in the range of 145 million to 160 million pounds in 2011. In 2012, production growth continues as three development stage projects, including Mercedes, C1 Santa Luz, Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique, where construction decisions have already been made, increase production levels to between 1.2 - 1.32 million GEO in 2012, an overall increase of 27% from 2011.Estimated cash costs for 2011 and 2012 are expected to be below $250 per GEO. Production growth in 2013 is expected to increase by 60% from 2010 levels to between 1.46 and 1.68 million GEO with new contributions expected from Pilar, and full year production from Mercedes, C1 Santa Luz, and Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique. These projects are advancing on schedule and are fully-funded from the Company's available cash and cash flows generated from operations.