DENVER, August 7 /CNW/ - Apex Silver Mines Limited (AMEX: SIL) today
announced the first production of silver bearing concentrates from the San
Cristobal zinc, lead and silver mine in Southwestern Bolivia. The plant
reached mechanical completion in late June 2007 and began start-up
commissioning in early July. We expect the first rail shipments from the plant
later this week.
As of July 31st, more than three and a half million tonnes of ore have
been stockpiled for the concentrator. The primary crusher and overland
conveyor are operating at design rates delivering ore to the coarse ore
stockpile. With production testing ongoing and operating with a previously
untrained workforce, the plant is operating with the semi-autogenous mill
(SAG) and one of two ball mills. Processing the harder of the two ore types in
the San Cristobal ore body, we have achieved continuous throughput of 19,000
tonnes per day, within five percent of design capacity. The second ball mill
motor has been repaired and is being commissioned, and we expect continuous
production from this ball mill in early September.
The flotation circuit has been commissioned and we are producing both
silver bearing lead and zinc concentrates. The filtration and load out system
has been commissioned and concentrate containers are being loaded for rail
transport to the port at Mejillones, Chile.
All other systems including the well field, tailing system, railroad, and
other supporting systems have been commissioned and are generally performing
The plant will continue in startup and commissioning during August with
emphasis on commissioning of the zinc regrind circuit and fine tuning
throughout the flotation plant including improvements in the calibration of
instruments and tuning of control loops and level controls in the plant. In
addition, we expect to complete commissioning of the second ball mill,
together with final processes and coordination with Bolivian power providers,
in early September.
The entire project and operating team has achieved twelve million man
hours without a lost time accident.
"We salute our Bolivian project and operating team for the rapid ramp up
in production achieved to date," said Jeffrey Clevenger, President and CEO.
"The achievement of twelve million man-hours without a lost time accident
continues to establish a new target for the mining industry and re-enforces
the shared commitment of Apex and our Bolivian employees to operating and
We are completing the determination of our second quarter financial
results, which will reflect a non-cash loss of approximately $165 million for
the quarter ended June 30, 2007 related to our metals derivative positions due
to metals price increases in the second quarter, and will issue our second
quarter earnings release later this week.
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, testing and fine tuning of the plant and
processes, initial production, shipment and sales in the third quarter 2007,
timing of commissioning and continuous production from the second ball mill,
completion of final processes and coordination with Bolivian power providers,
and the amount of the second quarter loss on our metals derivative positions.
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 commissioning and achieving continuous
production at the second ball mill, start-up problems or delays, variations in
ore grade and processing rates, changes in our estimate of the second quarter
loss on our metals derivative positions, 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,
For further information:
For further information: Apex Silver Mines Corporation Jerry Danni,
303-228-0336 Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs