Spokane Journal of Business

Coeur d'Alene Mines to increase production in Nevada mine

Company reports record gold production in '12; silver also remains high

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Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. says it expects to invest $30 million to $35 million to expand production significantly this year at its Rochester silver-and-gold mine in Nevada.

As a result, silver production at Rochester is expected to increase to between 4.5 million and 4.9 million ounces in 2013, compared with 2.8 million ounces produced last year, a company press release says. Gold production at that Nevada mine, located in the northwestern part of the state, is expected to rise to between 44,000 and 46,000 ounces, compared with 38,000 ounces in 2012.

Meanwhile, the company says it had record overall gold production last year, totaling 226,500 ounces of gold from all its operations that produce the precious metal. Coeur also produced 18 million ounces of silver last year, down from 19 million ounces in 2011.

Coeur expects its metal sales from last year's production to total $890 million to $900 million, the release says.

The company attributes last year's higher-than-expected gold production to strong fourth-quarter production at the Rochester mine and at its Kensington gold mine in Alaska.

Coeur also operates the Palmarejo silver-gold mine in Mexico and the San Bartolome silver operation in Bolivia. It owns a nonoperating interest in a silver-base metal mine, called Endeavor, in Australia.

The company estimates that it will produce 18 million ounces of silver again this year, while overall gold production is expected to increase to between 250,000 and 265,000 ounces due to higher production levels at the Rochester and Kensington operations.

While Rochester had significant silver production growth this past year, Coeur reports that its overall silver rate was offset by lower-grade silver ore production at its Palmarejo and San Bartolome silver mines.

Coeur says Palmarejo resumed normal mining activity late in the fourth quarter, after the production there hit a setback during September from what the company says were temporary unfavorable ground conditions in one mine area. During that quarter, Palmarejo produced 1.6 million ounces of silver and almost 20,000 ounces of gold, compared with 1.8 million ounces of silver and 23,700 ounces of gold in the third quarter.

Palmarejo's silver grades from open-pit operations are expected to increase throughout 2013. Coeur says it expects to produce from 7.7 million to 8.3 million ounces of silver at Palmarejo this year, compared with 8.2 million ounces last year.

The company reported its overall fourth-quarter overall silver production totaled 3.8 million ounces, and its gold production totaled nearly 61,000 ounces.

Treva Lind
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