Tahoe’s Escobal silver mine reaches commercial production

Tahoe’s Escobal silver mine reaches commercial production

The Escobal mine is immediately east of the town of San Rafael, Guatemala.

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, has achieved commercial production.

The Reno Nevada-based company said Wednesday that since September last year, when the project began operations, silver production has been ramping towards the 3,500 tonne per day (tpd) target the company set for the first quarter of 2014.

To date, the mill has produced 5,970 tonnes of silver-bearing concentrates with an estimated net value (net smelter return) of about $54.3 million. Tahoe said the quality has been outstanding with minimal penalties associated with either the zinc or lead concentrates.

Tahoe President and CEO Kevin McArthur said the firm has also begun paying Guatemalan income taxes, adding the first agreed royalty payments will be make in the near future.

“Our Guatemalan team has done a terrific job in delivering this world-scale silver mine within four years of the company’s initial public offering. While we continue to optimize the mill, tailings filtration and paste backfill operations, this has been a remarkable start-up for a precious metals flotation plant over a very short time period,” said McArthur.

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.