The Santa Elena Mine is located in northern Mexico approximately 150 km northeast of Hermosillo in Sonora State. The mineralization at Santa Elena is classified as a low sulphidation epithermal system and mining and exploration has been focused on a single wide vein. The mine began operating in 2011 as an open pit, heap leach operation and transitioned to an underground mine and mill in early 2014. First Majestic is currently mining from three stopes, targeting underground production of 1,750 tpd.
Ore is processed into gold-silver doré bars through a Merrill-Crowe processing facility with capacity of 3,000 tpd and recoveries have averaged 91% for silver and 95% for gold during 2019. Excess capacity at the mill is being used to reprocess ore from the heap leach pads. Production during 2019 totaled 2,435,604 ounces of silver and 45,119 ounces of gold.
The Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves as of December 2019 were 3.62 Mt at 83.0 g/t silver and 1.22 g/t gold for contained ounces of 21.5 Mozs of silver equivalent. Santa Elena has Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources (excluding Ermitano) of 3.73 Mt at 104.6 g/t silver and 1.5 g/t gold for 27.4 Mozs of silver equivalent (105-115 g/t AgEq cut-off for underground ore and 75 g/t AgEq cut-off for leach pad ore). Resources are inclusive of reserves.
Liquid Natural Gas generators were successfully installed at Santa Elena’s new LNG power facility during the last quarter of 2020.
During the third quarter, five surface and three underground drills were restarted and completed 10,308 metres of drilling. Exploration in the quarter was directed towards infill and expansionary drilling at the Santa Elena mine, Ermitaño project, and on three regional projects.