GOLDEN, Colo., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Golden Minerals Company (NYSE MKT: AUMN; TSX: AUM) ("Golden Minerals" or "the Company") provides production results from the Velardena Operations for the fourth quarter 2012.
Payable production during the fourth quarter 2012 totaled a record of approximately 134,000 ounces of silver, an increase of about 13 percent over third quarter 2012 production and 72 percent greater than the fourth quarter 2011. Payable gold production during the fourth quarter 2012 was 1,300 ounces, about 33 percent less than the third quarter 2012 production and an increase of about eight percent above the fourth quarter 2011. Full year 2012 payable production totaled approximately 457,000 ounces of silver and 6,500 ounces of gold for a total of about 782,000 silver equivalent ounces for silver and gold only (equivalents calculated at 50:1).
Additionally, the Company produced approximately 330,000 pounds of payable lead and 480,000 pounds of payable zinc during the fourth quarter, bringing full year 2012 production to approximately 1.0 million pounds of lead and 1.4 million pounds of zinc.Record silver production for the fourth quarter was achieved primarily due to efforts to reduce dilution to the ore feeding the mills, with a 45% increase in grade for the fourth quarter as compared to the first quarter. Gold production during the fourth quarter 2012 was negatively impacted by lower gold recovery at the Company's processing plants primarily due to the occurrence of different mineralogy in some of the newly developed ore areas and to a lesser extent by reduced tonnes mined during the fourth quarter due primarily to shortages of miners as previously reported. The Company is currently working to improve gold recoveries for the recently encountered ore, including testing different reagents and grinds in the sulfide plant, and conducting various tests to determine the ores or blend of ores that yield the best results in each plant. The Company is working with its unions to improve miner availability and have recovered about half of the shortfall.