First Majestic has experienced another year of strong growth resulting in a 20% increase in total silver equivalent ounces produced. During 2012, the Company continued to pursue an aggressive growth plan by re-investing $175.1 million in the development and exploration of its mineral properties, construction of new processing plants, and acquisitions of new mining equipment. During 2012, a total of $60.4 million was spent for Del Toro's Phase 1 construction and an additional $11.2 million was advanced towards Phase 2 and 3 of the Del Toro expansion plans.
Capital growth requirements budgeted for 2013 total $192.2 million which includes $56.1 million earmarked for Phase 2 and 3 of the Del Toro capital project including development costs, $3.8 million for the expansion of La Guitarra to 500 tpd, $14.0 million for the expansion of San Martin to 1,300 tpd, $7.6 million to continue the construction of La Parrilla's underground haulage system and shaft, $86.2 million in global development and $24.5 million in global exploration. A large portion of these budgeted capital costs are discretionary and can be adjusted should the price of silver remain at low levels.
At Del Toro, the 1,000 tpd flotation circuit has been operating since January of 2013 with some days reaching as high as 70% of capacity. It is expected that 1,000 tpd will be achieved in early March and commercial production by April 1, 2013. The second phase of construction consisting of the cyanidation circuit is in process. The leaching tanks are 50% complete, the 12 x 14 ball mill is expected to arrive on site shortly, and the counter current washing tanks are 75% completed. In addition, one of the four large tailings filter systems to recirculate water back through the process is on-site and is currently being assembled.
Keith Neumeyer, President & CEO, stated, "2012 was another ambitious year for First Majestic, as we continued to invest in our infrastructure to prepare for another growth spurt in the next two years. The construction of Phase 1 of the Del Toro plant began in April 2011 and was virtually complete by the end of 2012. La Parrilla's processing plant was doubled in capacity to 2,000 tpd by March of 2012, and we achieved the acquisition and integration of La Guitarra mine in the second half of the year. We are now excited to see a further 40 percent increase in our production growth to approximately 13 million silver equivalent ounces in 2013. Recognition is due to our dedicated management team and staff who continue to do an outstanding job and should be congratulated for their outstanding efforts in 2012. The year marked the ninth consecutive year that First Majestic has achieved record production of silver and management is looking forward to its 10th year of growth in 2013."
First Majestic is a producing silver company focused on silver production in Mexico and is aggressively pursuing its business plan of becoming a senior silver producer through the development of its existing mineral property assets and the pursuit through acquisition of additional mineral assets which contribute to the Company achieving its aggressive corporate growth objectives.
FIRST MAJESTIC SILVER CORP.
Keith Neumeyer, President & CEO
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This news release includes certain "Forward-Looking Statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. When used in this news release, the words "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "target", "plan", "forecast", "may", "schedule" and similar words or expressions, identify forward-looking statements or information. These forward-looking statements or information relate to, among other things: the price of silver and other metals; the accuracy of mineral reserve and resource estimates and estimates of future production and costs of production at our properties; estimated production rates for silver and other payable metals produced by us, the estimated cost of development of our development projects; the effects of laws, regulations and government policies on our operations, including, without limitation, the laws in Mexico which currently have significant restrictions related to mining; obtaining or maintaining necessary permits, licences and approvals from government authorities; and continued access to necessary infrastructure, including, without limitation, access to power, land, water and roads to carry on activities as planned.
These statements reflect the Company's current views with respect to future events and are necessarily based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and contingencies. Many factors, both known and unknown, could cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the results, performance or achievements that are or may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information and the Company has made assumptions and estimates based on or related to many of these factors. Such factors include, without limitation: fluctuations in the spot and forward price of silver, gold, base metals or certain other commodities (such as natural gas, fuel oil and electricity); fluctuations in the currency markets (such as the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso versus the U.S. dollar); changes in national and local government, legislation, taxation, controls, regulations and political or economic developments in Canada, Mexico; operating or technical difficulties in connection with mining or development activities; risks and hazards associated with the business of mineral exploration, development and mining (including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected formations, pressures, cave-ins and flooding); risks relating to the credit worthiness or financial condition of suppliers, refiners and other parties with whom the Company does business; inability to obtain adequate insurance to cover risks and hazards; and the presence of laws and regulations that may impose restrictions on mining, including those currently enacted in Mexico; employee relations; relationships with and claims by local communities and indigenous populations; availability and increasing costs associated with mining inputs and labour; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of obtaining necessary licenses, permits and approvals from government authorities; diminishing quantities or grades of mineral reserves as properties are mined; the Company's title to properties; and the factors identified under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Information Form, under the caption "Risks Relating to First Majestic's Business".
Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements or information. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements or information to reflect changes in assumptions or changes in circumstances or any other events affecting such statements or information, other than as required by applicable law.
First Majestic Silver Corp.
President & CEO
(604) 688-3033 or Toll Free: 1-866-529-2807
(604) 639-8873 (FAX)
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