Vancouver, British Columbia-based Endeavour Silver Corp. is targeting a 25% increase in annual silver equivalent production at the El Compas gold-silver mine in Mexico, compared to the metrics outlined in the March 2017 preliminary economic assessment.
The company had been planning to develop a 200-tonne-per-day operation to produce 583,000 ounces of silver and 49,400 ounces of gold over its 4.3-year mine life, or 4 million ounces of silver equivalent.
The higher expected production will come from higher throughput capacity at the plant to 325 tonnes per day from 250 t/d previously.
The company also expanded the mine plan to 250 t/d from 200 t/d using the mechanized cut-and-fill mining method, with the potential to increase it to 500 t/d with further plant refurbishment and more reserves and resources.
Project CapEx will rise 13% to US$11.3 million with the expanded production to improve all-in-sustaining costs from the US$9.64 per silver equivalent ounce estimated in the PEA.
Due to delays in obtaining the explosives permit, which is expected to be received this month, commissioning of the mine has been rescheduled to start in April, but commercial production remains on track for July 31.
"We look forward to commissioning El Compas as our fourth operating mine over the next two months. Following the commissioning phase, the mine should generate robust economic returns at current metal prices because the two known mineralized zones, El Compas and El Orito, are relatively shallow and high grade," Endeavour Silver CEO Bradford Cooke said in the Feb. 20 release. "The operation is very scalable if we discover new orebodies or purchase additional mineral resources in the Zacatecas district and refurbish the second ball mill to increase plant throughput to more than 500 t/d."
Endeavour Silver plans to undertake a 6,600-meter exploration program in 2018 to follow-up the Misie-Karla-Karla HW and Calicanto veins discoveries.
The precious metals producer expects to produce 10.2 million to 11.2 million ounces of silver equivalent this year, a 20% increase from 2017 production, while cash costs and all-in sustaining costs are estimated to decline.