The Guanajuato Mine Complex is Great Panther Silver's flagship operation. The property consists of 28 claims, totaling 1,107 hectares. The concessions are 100%-owned by Great Panther's Mexican subsidiary, Minera Mexicana El Rosario, S.A. de C.V. The main claim block covers 4.2 km of the prolific Veta Madre vein structure in the City of Guanajuato in central Mexico.
For the fourth quarter 2011, the Guanajuato operation processed 40,114 tonnes, up 3% from Q4, 2010, at ore grades of 207g/t Ag and 1.84g/t Au. This is a significant improvement from the previous quarter and within 2% of the combined ore grades for Q4, 2010. Metal production included 237,572 Ag oz and 2,145 Au oz, or 366,286 Ag eq oz, which was up 28% from the previous quarter and down just 1% from Q4, 2010. Plant metallurgical performance remained strong, with metal recoveries of 89.1% for silver and 90.3% for gold.
For the year 2011, 169,212 tonnes were processed at ore grades of 199g/t Ag and 1.52g/t Au. Metals produced totaled 959,490 Ag oz (down 6% from 2010), plus 7,515 Au oz (up 14% from 2010 and a record), or 1,410,404 Ag eq oz (down 2% from 2010). The significant improvement in ore grades for the quarter resulted from the initiation of development of the high-grade Deep Cata area and from improved gold production from the Santa Margarita vein. Plant metallurgical performance was excellent with record recoveries of 88.5% for Ag and 90.3% for Au compared to 88.5% and 88.6%, respectively in 2010.
In addition, early results from the on-going underground drilling and development program in the Los Pozos and Santa Margarita zones in the Rayas area of the Guanajuato mine demonstrated the continuity of silver and gold mineralization, locally to a depth of 600 metres. This will allow the Company to construct a new mineral resource estimate and provide greater definition for the mine plan in these areas. Great Panther intends to drill more than 41,000 metres at the Guanajuato Mine Complex in 2012 at the Guanajuato mines, San Ignacio and Santa Rosa Projects.
Topia is a high-grade silver-lead-zinc Mine in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Durango State, where silver has been mined intermittently since the 1500's. Great Panther owns 100% of the concessions that comprise 6500 hectares and are accessible by road and air. Topia includes 13 small mining operations all feeding a central plant.
For the quarter 2011, the Topia operation reported metal production of 117,182 Ag oz, 136 Au oz, 467,000 Pb lbs, and 721,500 Zn lbs from milling 12,056 tonnes of ore, up by 33% from Q4, 2010 and a quarterly processing record. This equates to 179,008 Ag eq oz, which is 8% down from Q4, 2010.
For the year 2011, Topia reported metal production of 535,881 Ag oz (a record), 500 Au oz, 2,073,600 Pb lbs and 2,898,750 Zn lbs, from milling 46,968 tonnes of ore, up by 23% from 2010 and a record. In terms of silver equivalents, this equates to 789,609 Ag eq oz, 4% less than in 2010. The average grades of ore processed were 400g/t Ag, 0.41g/t Au, 2.13% Pb and 3.05% Zn and plant metallurgical performance, with metal recoveries of 88.7% for Ag; 80.1% for Au; 94% for Pb; and 91.7% for Zn, were satisfactory.
The Company's focus for 2013 is to improve and strengthen the operational efficiency of the existing operations and build the platform for more significant growth in 2014 and beyond.
As such, Great Panther estimates metal production in the range of 2.4 to 2.5 million silver equivalent ounces for fiscal 2013, while the objectives for this year are to: