In 2012, the operation at Avino grew considerably. Key appointments were made including the promotions of Mr. Carlos Rodriguez, Mine Manager to Chief Operating Officer and Mr. Malcolm Davidson, Senior Accountant to Chief Financial Officer. Avino also re-hired Mr. Gerardo Mejia as the mine superintendent. Mr. Mejia is very familiar with the underground workings at the Avino Mine as he was superintendent at Avino before the operation ceased in 2001. Two new experienced field geologists were also added to help with both surface and underground exploration.
Property Option Agreements
During the year, Avino entered into two separate option agreements. Avino optioned its Laberinto property in Durango, Mexico to Endeavour Silver Corp. (See news release dated July 31, 2012) and its Eagle property located in the prolific Keno Hill Mining district in the Yukon Territory, Canada to Benz Capital Corp. (see news release dated January 6, 2012) Avino feels that both properties are of merit and hold significant potential.
In December, the Company entered into a credit facility with Caterpillar Finance for up to US $5 million. The financing will help Avino advance its current operations at San Gonzalo and reopen the old Avino Mine (for more information please see the news release dated December 20, 2012). With the credit facility in place, the Company has acquired several key pieces of mining equipment including: a new Caterpillar 420F Backhoe loader, Caterpillar R1600 Scoop tram and an Oldenburg underground rock drill. This equipment represents roughly one third of the credit facility.
The focus for 2013 is to improve and strengthen operational efficiency at the Avino operation and reconfigure the plant in anticipation of higher throughput for 2014.
Key objectives for 2013 include:
1. Increase cash flow from mine operations by reducing costs and improving operational efficiency;2. Aggressively drive the development of the main Avino Mine with the goal of production in 2014;3. Resume exploration drilling across the property;4. Review acquisition opportunities; and5. Publish a new NI 43-101 complaint resource estimate covering the San Gonzalo and Avino Mines.
Avino's projects are under the supervision of Chris Sampson, P.Eng, BSc, ARSM Avino consultant and Mr. Jasman Yee, P.Eng, Avino director, who are both qualified persons within the context of National Instrument 43-101. Both have reviewed and approved the technical data in this news release.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
David Wolfin, President & CEO
Safe Harbor Statement - This news release contains "forward-looking information" and "forward-looking statements" (together, the "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable securities laws and the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including our belief as to the extent and timing of various studies including the PEA, and exploration results, the potential tonnage, grades and content of deposits, timing and establishment and extent of resources estimates. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and the dates of technical reports, as applicable. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, as there can be no assurance that the future circumstances, outcomes or results anticipated in or implied by such forward-looking statements will occur or that plans, intentions or expectations upon which the forward-looking statements are based will occur. While we have based these forward-looking statements on our expectations about future events as at the date that such statements were prepared, the statements are not a guarantee that such future events will occur and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors which could cause events or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.