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 88% for silver and 95% for gold during 2018. Excess capacity at the mill is being used to reprocess ore from the heap leach pads. Production during 2018 totaled 2,223,246 ounces of silver and 46,856 ounces of gold.
The Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves as of December 2018 were 4.0 Mt at 85.0 g/t silver and 1.3 g/t gold for contained ounces of 24.1 Mozs of silver equivalent (115-175 g/t AgEq cut-off for underground ore and 85 g/t AgEq for leach pad ore). Santa Elena has Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources (excluding Ermitano) of 4.6 Mt at 106.6 g/t silver and 1.6 g/t gold for 34.6 Mozs of silver equivalent (110-120 g/t AgEq cut-off for underground ore and 75 g/t AgEq cut-off for leach pad ore). Resources are inclusive of reserves.
Drilling at Santa Elena totaled 36,661 metres in 2018 and focused on exploring extensions of the Tortuga and America veins, and the Santa Elena Main Vein looking for extensions to the west and at depth.
During 2018, Santa Elena produced 46,856 ounces of gold and 2,223,246 ounces of silver. The operation's all-in-sustaining cost for the full-year 2018 was $4.54 per silver equivalent ounce.