Hochschild says Argentina is key for its silver and gold plans

Despite the economic and political issues affecting Argentina’s stability, silver and gold miner Hochschild Mining (LON: HOC) said it will continue to be "very active" in the country, considered “strategic” for the Peruvian company.

In a conference call to discuss the company's 2012 production totals posted Wednesday, CEO Ignacio Bustamante said Hochschild “has faith” in Argentina’s potential.

The South American country has been considered a high-risk destination for mining companies, discouraging companies from starting projects due mainly to harsh import policies and high inflation rates.

On Wednesday the precious metal company reported 2012 production of 20.3 million attributable silver equivalent ounces, comprised of 13.6 million ounces of silver and 111.8 thousand ounces of gold. Hochschild said its full year production again met target. The company's 2013 production target is maintained at 20.0 million attributable silver equivalent ounces.

In its fourth-quarter, the company produced 4.9 million attributable silver equivalent ounces comprised of 3.2 million ounces of silver and 27.4 thousand ounces of gold.

Hochschild has assigned an exploration budget of $77 million for 2013, which will be split between exploration work at the company's existing operations.

The gold and silver miner operates the San Jose mine in Argentina, as well as the Pallancata, Arcata and Ares mines in Peru, and Moris in Mexico.

Hochschild also owns the $370 million Inmaculada and $150 million Crespo projects in Peru and in November last year acquired the $800 million Volcan development in Chile through the friendly takeover of Canadian miner Andina Minerals (TSX-V: ADM).

(Image: Argentine soccer star Diego Armando Maradona prays for a victory. Courtesy of TodoDeporte)


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