Tahoe’s Escobal silver mine output at high end of 2014 expectations

Tahoe’s Escobal silver mine output at high end of 2014 expectations

Tahoe’s Escobal silver mine in Guatemala.

Production at Tahoe Resources’ (TSX:THO), (NYSE: TAHO) Escobal silver mine in Guatemala, which experts say could soon become one of the world’s largest producers of the precious metal, helped the company finished the year at the high end of its 2014 production guidance, the miner said Tuesday.

Tahoe’s flagship mine — which began operation in Sep. 2013 — generated 20.3 million ounces (moz) of silver contained in concentrates recovered from 1.246 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 585 grams per tonne (gpt). Fourth quarter mill throughput averaged 3,474 tonnes per day (tpd) and silver grade averaged 585 gpt resulting in 5.23 moz of silver.

The company's stock was up 2.18% at 10:06AM EST in Toronto after the announcement.

According to the firm, year-end production was particularly strong, resulting in a December surplus of unsold concentrates. Normal inventory increased by approximately one million silver ounces and Tahoe plans to sell this surplus to customers in the first quarter of 2015.

Tahoe President and CEO Kevin McArthur said the mine’s first year of production has met all of their expectations.

“We finished the year at the high end of our 2014 production guidance, met our cost goals for the year and are starting the new year with very strong sales in an improving silver-price environment,” he said in the statement.

McArthur added that Total silver production in 2015 would rely on mid-year completion of the expansion, which remains on track.

Bringing the silver mine to production hasn't always been smooth sailing. Tahoe has faced a string of challenges including a Guatemalan appeals court and a complaint filed with the Ontario Securities Commission related to a shooting in the project vicinity.