VANCOUVER, Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (TSX: FVI / Lima Stock Exchange: FVI / www.fortunasilver.com ) is pleased to announce that it began commercial production at its San Jose silver-gold mine in Oaxaca, Mexico today. Construction of the wholly-owned mine was initiated in March 2010 and was concluded on-time and on-budget, with total construction capital investment of approximately US$55 million.
San Jose is expected to produce 520,000 ounces of silver and 4,600 ounces of gold in 2011, and 1.7 million ounces of silver and 15,000 ounces of gold in 2012 at an estimated cash cost per silver ounce of US$5.04, net of by-products.
"This is a milestone for Fortuna. Our entire organization, with a special mention to our team at San Jose, has performed exceptionally well by delivering the construction and commissioning of our second mine on-time and on-budget. We now look forward to continue delivering production growth through the expansion of San Jose to 1,500 tonnes per day by third quarter of 2013. In addition, we are scoping production expansion of our Caylloma mine for 2012." said Jorge A. Ganoza, Fortuna President, CEO and Director.
Commissioning of the processing plant began on July 15 th, 2011 treating low grade ore from development stock piles and was completed on August 31 st, 2011 with the mill and mine operating steadily at the initial design rate of 1,000 tonnes per day (tpd). Metallurgical recoveries achieved for silver and gold are 75% and 80% respectively, both within eighty percent of design parameters. Management expects that recoveries will continue to improve over the coming weeks to the targeted 88% recovery for silver and 90% for gold, as the process continues to be fine tuned and the plant is sourced with production ore. The San Jose mine currently has approximately 51,000 tonnes in the coarse ore stockpile and 5,000 tonnes in fine ore stockpile.Production on stopes K, L and M is proceeding as scheduled to support the initial design throughput rate of 1,000tpd. Mine and processing plant ramp-up to design capacity of 1,500tpd is scheduled to be concluded in the third quarter of 2013.