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First Majestic Silver Corp
Symbol FR
Shares Issued 164,147,033
Close 2016-10-12 C$ 10.49
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First Majestic Silver produces 4.52 Moz AgEq in Q3 2016

2016-10-13 07:16 ET - News Release

Mr. Keith Neumeyer reports

FIRST MAJESTIC ACHIEVES NEW RECORD IN SILVER PRODUCTION; PRODUCES 4.5 MILLION SILVER EQV. OUNCES IN THIRD QUARTER

First Majestic Silver Corp.'s total production in the third quarter of 2016 from its six operating silver mines reached 4.5 million silver-equivalent ounces. Total production consisted of 3.1 million ounces of silver, 14,452 ounces of gold, eight million pounds of lead and 1.5 million pounds of zinc.

"Higher silver grades, throughput rates and recoveries propelled silver production to a new company record of over 3.1 million ounces during the quarter," said Keith Neumeyer, president and chief executive officer. "We saw significant grade improvements, particularly at Santa Elena, La Guitarra and San Martin, as a result of improved mine sequencing and dilution control. Due to the improved operational cash flows, we've significantly expanded our exploration programs resulting in 19 drill rigs currently active on our properties which will allow us to release updated reserve and resource estimates for Del Toro, La Parrilla and San Martin in the first quarter of 2017. At La Encantada, detailed engineering has been completed and furnace manufacturing has started for the construction of our new roasting circuit planned for final completion in the fourth quarter of 2017."

                        PRODUCTION DETAILS TABLE

                                         Q3         Q3         Q2
                                       2016       2015       2016

Ore processed/tonnes milled         838,233    675,032    798,182
Total production -- ounces of
silver-equivalent                 4,524,619  3,558,035  4,681,608
Total silver ounces produced      3,114,627  2,593,309  2,844,930
Silver grade (g/t)                      150        167        148
Silver recovery (%)                      77         72         75
Pounds of lead produced           8,038,206  8,743,453  8,825,234
Pounds of zinc produced           1,519,143  3,122,498  3,837,301
Gold ounces produced                 14,452      4,434     16,371

Quarterly operational review

Total ore processed during the quarter at the company's six operating silver mines, Santa Elena, La Encantada, La Parrilla, Del Toro, San Martin and La Guitarra, amounted to 838,233 tonnes, reflecting a 5-per-cent increase compared with the previous quarter. In the month of August, processing rates at Del Toro, La Parrilla, San Martin and La Guitarra were affected by the heavy seasonal rains causing temporary clogging of ore in the crushing areas.

Average silver grades in the quarter increased to 150 grams per tonne compared with 148 g/t in the previous quarter. Higher silver grades were achieved at Santa Elena, La Guitarra and San Martin due to improved mine sequencing and dilution control, offset by lower grades at La Encantada due to the blending of ore from old stopes, stockpiles and the recovery of pillars.

Combined silver recoveries averaged 77 per cent, representing a 3-per-cent increase compared with the previous quarter. La Encantada, Del Toro, La Guitarra and Santa Elena all achieved higher silver recoveries during the quarter. Furthermore, silver recoveries at Santa Elena achieved a new operating record of 91 per cent primarily due to the higher silver grades being mined from underground.

The company's underground development in the third quarter consisted of 12,764 metres, reflecting a 9-per-cent increase compared with 11,738 metres completed in the previous quarter. The company also completed 36,290 metres of diamond drilling in the quarter compared with 19,342 metres in the prior quarter, representing an 88-per-cent increase. A substantial portion of the current drilling and development is for the purpose of updating mineral reserves and resources at Del Toro, La Parrilla and San Martin. Updated National Instrument 43-101 technical reports for each of these three mining units are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2017.

                     MINE-BY-MINE QUARTERLY PRODUCTION TABLE

                                                  Ag                      Ag
                         Ore      Tonnes       grade          Ag      ounces
Mine               processed     per day        (g/t)   recovery    produced

Santa Elena          241,996       2,630          95         91%     671,423
La Encantada         247,858       2,694         145         59%     685,478
La Parrilla          147,414       1,602         146         79%     547,913
Del Toro              86,646         942         195         82%     446,137
San Martin            75,228         818         246         84%     500,441
La Guitarra           39,092         425         252         83%     263,235
Total                838,233       9,111         150         77%   3,114,627
                                                      
                   Au ounces   Pb pounds   Zn pounds  AgEq ounces   
Mine                produced    produced    produced     produced 

Santa Elena           11,156           -           -    1,430,506
La Encantada              35           -           -      687,841
La Parrilla              296   2,129,908   1,519,143      739,026
Del Toro                  81   5,908,297           -      707,524
San Martin               907           -           -      562,096
La Guitarra            1,977           -           -      397,627
Total                 14,452   8,038,206   1,519,143    4,524,619

(i) Certain amounts shown in this news release may not add exactly to the total 
amount due to rounding differences.
(i) The following prices were used in the calculation of silver-equivalent ounces: 
silver: $19.61 per ounce; gold: $1,334 per ounce; lead: 85 cents per pound; zinc: 
$1.02 per pound.

At the Santa Elena gold/silver mine:

  • During the quarter, Santa Elena produced 671,423 ounces of silver and 11,156 ounces of gold for a total production of 1,430,506 silver-equivalent ounces. Compared with the previous quarter, silver production increased 11 per cent primarily due to an increase in grade and tonnage mined from the high-grade Alejandra vein.
  • During the quarter, the company modified the production split between underground ore and the reprocessing of ore from the heap-leach pad due to achieving higher production rates from the Alejandra vein. As a result, production of underground ore increased to a rate of 1,750 tonnes per day while reducing heap-leach production to 1,000 tpd. This improved run rate is expected to increase production due to the higher grades and recoveries of underground ore.
  • The mill processed a total of 241,996 tonnes, consisting of 155,552 tonnes of underground ore and 86,444 tonnes from the above ground heap-leach pad.
  • Silver and gold grades of underground ore averaged 124 g/t and two g/t, respectively. Whereas silver and gold grades from the above ground heap-leach pad averaged 43 g/t and 0.7 g/t, respectively.
  • At the end of the quarter, total development of the new San Salvador ramp reached 1,070 metres, or 47 per cent of a 2,300-metre development plan. The new ramp will connect to the Main vein along level 575 by April, 2017. Once the ramp is completed, it is expected to improve underground productivity by reducing trucking bottlenecks.
  • A total of 2,444 metres of underground development were completed in the third quarter compared with 2,931 metres of development in the previous quarter.
  • A total of 3,520 metres of exploration drilling were completed in the third quarter compared with 3,509 metres of drilling in the previous quarter. In October, the company is expected to begin a 3,000-metre surface drilling program on the Ermitano West property. Assay results from the drill program are expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter.

At the La Encantada silver mine:

  • For the quarter, silver production reached 685,478 ounces, representing a 10-per-cent increase over the previous quarter. The increase in production was primarily due to a 19-per-cent increase in tonnes milled offset by lower silver grades.
  • Silver grades averaged 145 g/t during the quarter, or a 14-per-cent decrease compared with the prior quarter primarily due to the blending of ore from old stopes, stockpiles and the recovery of pillars.
  • The roasting project advanced in the third quarter with the completion of the detailed engineering design of this new circuit. Site preparations and civil work are planned to start in the fourth quarter. The company continues to anticipate completion of this circuit in the fourth quarter of 2017. Once in full production, the company expects to recover an additional 1.5 million ounces of silver per year from the reprocessing of above-ground tailings.
  • A total of 519 metres of underground development were completed in the third quarter compared with 1,043 metres of development in the previous quarter. The decrease in development was primarily due to limited ventilation.
  • A total of 3,681 metres were drilled in the third quarter, representing a 20-per-cent increase compared with 3,062 metres in the previous quarter.

At the La Parrilla silver mine:

  • During the quarter, the flotation circuit processed 93,686 tonnes (1,018 tpd) with an average silver grade of 158 g/t and an 84-per-cent recovery while the cyanidation circuit processed 53,727 tonnes (584 tpd) with an average silver grade of 125 g/t and a 69-per-cent recovery for total production of 739,026 silver-equivalent ounces.
  • The company is modifying the processing rates of oxides and sulphides in order to accommodate for higher production rates from the San Marcos mine along with lower sulphide base-metal grades. Milling rates of oxide ore are increasing to 700 tpd (up from 500 tpd) along with a reduction of sulphide ore to 1,000 tpd (down from 1,200 tpd). The increase in oxide production is expected to improve the mill head grades and increase production of silver dore bars.
  • The lead circuit processed an average lead grade of 1.3 per cent with recoveries of 78 per cent for total lead production of 2.1 million pounds, representing a 26-per-cent decrease compared with the previous quarter. The decrease in lead production was primarily attributed to an 18-per-cent decrease in processed ore due to the recent mill modifications.
  • The zinc circuit processed an average zinc grade of 1.4 per cent with recoveries of 53 per cent for total zinc production of 1.5 million pounds, representing a 60-per-cent decrease compared with the previous quarter. The decrease in zinc production was primarily due to the lower circuit throughput and a 24-per-cent decrease in zinc grades.
  • Underground development completed in the quarter totalled 2,612 metres compared with 1,834 metres developed in the previous quarter.
  • A total of 5,115 metres were drilled in the third quarter, representing a 69-per-cent increase compared with 3,030 metres in the previous quarter.

At the Del Toro silver mine:

  • For the quarter, Del Toro produced a total of 707,524 silver-equivalent ounces representing a 4-per-cent increase in production compared with the prior quarter primarily due to higher throughput rates.
  • Throughput rates were 7 per cent higher compared with the previous quarter due to an increase in underground development in the San Juan and Perseverancia mines.
  • Silver grades and recoveries improved during the quarter, averaging 195 g/t and 82 per cent, respectively.
  • Lead grades and recoveries averaged 5.0 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively, producing a total of 5.9 million pounds of lead, consistent with the previous quarter.
  • Underground development completed in the quarter totalled 2,328 metres compared with 1,754 metres developed in the previous quarter.
  • Total exploration metres drilled in the quarter amounted to 6,643 metres, representing a 101-per-cent increase compared with 3,306 metres drilled in the previous quarter.

At the San Martin silver mine:

  • During the quarter, San Martin produced 500,441 ounces of silver and 907 ounces of gold for a total production of 562,096 silver-equivalent ounces. Silver production increased 22 per cent compared with the prior quarter primarily due to a 12-per-cent increase in silver grade and an 8-per-cent increase in tonnes milled.
  • Silver grades and recoveries averaged 246 g/t and 84 per cent, respectively, during the quarter. In addition, gold grades and recoveries averaged 0.4 g/t and 85 per cent, respectively. The higher silver grades were primarily the result of higher production rates from the Rosarios and Veladora veins.
  • Detailed engineering work for the installation of the tailings filter presses was completed during the quarter. Ground preparations including the installation of the foundations are expected to begin in late October. The filter presses, which are designed to recover and reuse solution and to save on water consumption, are expected to be installed and undergo testing in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Following successful lab tests, the company is planning to install oxygen injectors and lead nitrate into the processing leach tanks over the next six months. Lab results indicate the potential for a 2-per-cent increase in metallurgical recoveries by using these reagents.
  • Underground development completed in the third quarter totalled 2,807 metres compared with 2,524 metres of development in the previous quarter.
  • Total metres drilled in the third quarter amounted to 7,817 metres, representing an 89-per-cent increase compared with 4,137 metres of drilling in the previous quarter.

At the La Guitarra silver mine:

  • During the quarter, La Guitarra produced 263,235 ounces of silver and 1,977 ounces of gold for a total production of 397,627 silver-equivalent ounces. Silver production increased 28 per cent compared with the previous quarter primarily due to an 11-per-cent increase in silver grades and a 12-per-cent increase in tonnes milled.
  • Silver grades and recoveries improved during the quarter, averaging 252 g/t and 83 per cent, respectively. In addition, gold grades and recoveries averaged two g/t and 78 per cent, respectively.
  • Approximately 31 per cent of the production ore came from the Coloso area and the remaining 69 per cent was extracted from the La Guitarra area.
  • During the quarter, underground development continued to advance toward the Soledad 1 and 2 veins. These high-grade parallel veins were recently discovered following successful exploration from both underground and surface drilling. The Soledad veins are approximately 150 metres southwest from the recently intersected Nazareno vein.
  • A total of 2,055 metres of development were completed in the third quarter compared with 1,652 metres of development in the previous quarter.
  • Total metres drilled in the quarter amounted to 9,515 metres, representing a 314-per-cent increase compared with 2,298 metres drilled in the previous quarter. The increase in exploration drilling is in preparation of the upcoming mine expansion to 1,000 tpd.

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