DENVER, June 7 /CNW/ - Apex Silver Mines Limited (AMEX: SIL) today
provided an update on construction of the San Cristobal project in
southwestern Bolivia. Construction activities remain on schedule for third
quarter 2007 initial production and sales. All of the major mechanical
equipment has been installed and pre-commissioning and testing of processing
systems is nearing completion.
As of the end of May 2007 Minera San Cristobal had stockpiled in excess
of 2.5 million tonnes of sulfide ore. The crushing and conveying systems have
been commissioned and 100,000 tonnes of sulfide ore has been crushed and
stockpiled ahead of the mill. The Semi Autogenous (SAG) Mill has passed its
eight hour run test. The high voltage test of the motors for both Ball Mills 1
and 2 initially failed with Ball Mill 1 now repaired with its eight hour run
test complete. Motor repairs to Ball Mill 2 are underway with testing and
commissioning planned for July. Plant startup will likely occur with the SAG
Mill and Ball Mill 1 to be followed by the addition of Ball Mill 2.
Commissioning of the flotation circuit is underway, with no significant
issues identified to date. The filtration and load-out facilities have also
been completed and are being commissioned, along with the tailings thickener
and tailings line.
The railroad system including the spur to site and fabrication of rail
cars is complete and available to deliver concentrates to the port of
Mejillones, Chile. The port is essentially complete except for some alignment
of track into the facility. The first shipment and sale of concentrates from
San Cristobal are still anticipated in the third quarter of 2007. Full
production is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2007.
A final analysis of project costs is underway, and is expected to be
completed by the end of the second quarter 2007. These results are expected to
be released with the second quarter earnings release. Costs could increase
approximately ten percent over the $650 million project estimate previously
reported, as a result of operating costs being experienced for a longer period
before revenues are realized and additional costs associated with the delay
and repairs of the ball mills and other costs.
Apex Silver is a mining exploration and development company. Its
65%-owned San Cristobal project is the world's largest development in silver
and zinc. The Ordinary shares of Apex Silver trade on the American Stock
Exchange under the symbol "SIL".
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding the
company, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section
21E of the Exchange Act, including statements regarding the anticipated
completion of commissioning and testing of processing systems, commissioning
of flotation circuit and filtration and load-out facilities, initial
production, shipment and sales in the third quarter 2007, timing of repair and
testing of Ball Mill 2, anticipated timing of full production during the
fourth quarter 2007, and expected increase in project costs. Actual results
relating to any and all of these subjects may differ materially from those
presented. Factors that could cause results to differ materially include
problems or delays in construction, commissioning, testing and commissioning
of Ball Mill 2, startup and operations, variations in ore grade and processing
rates, problems in emerging financial markets and political unrest and
uncertainty in Bolivia. The company assumes no obligation to update this
information. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual
results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements can
be found in the company's Form 10-K filed with the SEC for the year ended
December 31, 2006.
For further information:
For further information: Apex Silver Mines Corporation Jerry Danni,
303-228-0336 Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs