Output tumbles at Fresnillo

City A.M. Reporter
FRESNILLO, the world’s largest primary silver producer, said yesterday that silver output declined in the first-quarter due to lower ore grades.

The Mexican precious metals miner said silver production fell 2.2 per cent to 10.1m ounces, including output from the Silverstream agreement.

The FTSE 100 miner said it was taking measures to increase the volume of ore processed at Fresnillo, its largest mine, to compensate for lower grades.

“We are on track to achieve our target of producing 44 million ounces of silver, including Silverstream, in 2011,” said chief executive Jaime Lomelin.

Gold output jumped 13.3 per cent to 96,407 ounces, a record for the first-quarter, but fell 4.4 per cent from the fourth-quarter of 2010.

Lead and zinc production increased 16.8 per cent and 16.3 per cent from a year earlier.

Fresnillo is looking to overtake BHP Billiton, which produces more silver as a by-product from other metals, as the world’s biggest overall silver producer.

Shares in Fresnillo closed flat yesterday at 1,576p.