Joint venture partners Golden Arrow Resources (TSXV: GRG; US-OTC: GARWF) and SSR Mining (TSX: SSRM; NASDAQ: SSRM) have begun commercial production at their Chinchillas silver-lead-zinc mine in Argentina’s Jujuy province.
SSR Mining and Golden Arrow formed the 75-25 joint venture, called Puna Operations, in March 2017 following a pre-feasibility study for Chinchillas. The study outlined a US$178 million after-tax net present value at a 5% discount rate and a 29% after-tax internal rate of return.
The project contains 11.7 million proven and probable tonnes grading 154 grams silver, 1.2% lead and 0.49% zinc for 58 million oz. silver, 310 million lb. lead and 127 million lb. zinc.
Including reserves, the project also contains 29.3 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 101 grams silver, 0.9% lead and 0.6% zinc for 96 million oz. silver, 581 million lb. lead and 386 million lb. zinc. All resources are pit-constrained.
Golden Arrow estimates the project will produce 8.4 million oz. silver equivalent per year over an eight-year mine life. The companies designed the operation as a satellite deposit to SSR Mining’s producing Pirquitas silver mine, which achieved commercial production in 2009.
The Pirquitas plant processed 3,000 tonnes per day of Chinchillas ore during test mining. The two companies expect to increase plant throughput to 4,000 tonnes per day of Chinchillas ore in December 2018.
The two companies still have some infrastructure to install at Pirquitas and Chinchillas. They say they will complete the project by the end of 2019’s first quarter.
Shares of Golden Arrow are current trading at 26¢ with a 52-week range of 22¢ to 72¢. The company has a $27 million market capitalization.
Shares of SSR Mining are currently trading at $14.10 with a 52-week range of $9.66 to $14.96. The company has a $1.73 billion market capitalization.