“…….At San Bartolome, the world’s largest pure silver mine, we’re now in full operation, with a targeted average monthly production of approximately 750,000 ounces of silver and a total annual targeted production of 9 million ounces for 2009.
I do want to take a moment here to acknowledge the very fine effort put forth by our entire workforce at San Bartolome. They’ve done an outstanding job of getting the operations up and running and we want them to know that Coeur recognizes and appreciates their contribution.
Looking forward, cost reduction and containment is and will continue to be a major priority at San Bartolome. In fact, we’ve already reduced our operating cost per ounce nearly 50% since commencing operations in late last summer. While San Bartolome is close to meeting our expectations for both production and costs, we will continue working to further enhance its economic efficiency as the year progresses”
Employees of Bolivian miner Empresa Minera Manquiri, a subsidiary of US firm Coeur d’Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE, TSX: CDM) that operates the San Bartolomé silver mine, have halted operations to demand that the CEO and other executives step down.
“The union is demanding that several company managers leave. This is a pressure tactic,” a former Manquiri executive told BNamericas.
The employees, who also blockaded the Potosí-Tarija highway, are protesting because they do not agree with the way the company is being managed, the former executive said without providing further details.
Coeur d’Alene representatives were not available for comment when BNamericas contacted the company Wednesday.
San Bartolomé churned out 2.1Moz of silver in the fourth quarter and is expected to produce 9Moz this year at cash costs of US$6.50/oz.
San Bartolomé has 153Moz of silver reserves and 34.2Moz of indicated resources, which are expected to allow for a 14-year mine life.