Last week, First Majestic Silver (TSX:FR,NYSE:AG) announced initial production from its Del Toro mine in Zacatecas, Mexico. This year, the company projects production of 11.1 to 11.7 million ounces. Of that amount, Del Toro is expected to contribute about 2 million ounces. The opening of Del Toro is yet another step toward the company's goal of becoming a senior producer.
First Majestic focuses on one metal — silver — in one country: Mexico. The Del Toro silver mine was declared officially open in a special inauguration ceremony on January 23. On the 25, the company announced initial production. First Majestic now has five producing mines in its portfolio. Del Toro is composed of four underground areas, including the historic San Juan mine, which some believe is the oldest mine in the Chalchihuites silver mining district, perhaps dating back 500 years. Perseverancia is also a historic mine and was a source of high-grade, silver-rich sulfide ore, First Majestic's website notes. Underground development at Del Toro has produced a stockpile of ore in excess of 97,000 metric tons (MT), according to the production announcement. This material is currently the source of feed for the processing plant. The company expects commercialization of the 1,000-MT-per-day (tpd) floatation circuit by April 1. That will mark the conclusion of the the first part of its three-phase production plan. During the first half of the year, work will be also be done to prepare Del Toro for phase two, which will include the addition of a 1,000-tpd cyanidation circuit that is expected to start up by July 1. The company expects that its dual-mill circuit will then be producing 2,000 tpd.