The Avino Vein was mined during 27 years of open pit and underground production prior to 2001. It is 1.6 km long and 60 m wide on the surface and is situated right next to the processing plant. The deepest level mined prior to 2001 was level 11.5 (330 m below the surface). The mine was closed in November 2001 due to low metal prices (Silver US$4.37/oz, Gold US$283/oz, Copper US$0.65/lb) and the closure of a key smelter. From 1997 - 2001, the mine and mill, averaged 1,000 tpd and achieved up to 1,300 tpd. During the final 3 full years of operation, production averaged 1.7 million ounces of silver equivalent annually. For more on the history of the Avino Mine click here.
Following several years of redevelopment, the Company completed its Avino Mine and mill expansion in Q4 2014. Full scale underground operations commenced at the Elena Tolosa area of the mine on January 1, 2015, and commercial production was declared effective April 1, 2016 following a 19-month advancement and test period. Mineralized material from Elena Tolosa is processed into a copper –silver-gold concentrate using one of four bulk floatation circuits (Mill Circuit 3) at Avino’s on site processing plant at the rate of 1,000 tonnes per day (TPD).
In 2018, Avino completed an expansion to its processing plant with the addition of a fourth bulk flotation circuit (Mill Circuit 4) rated at 1,000 TPD; increasing the combined throughput capacity of the plant to 2,500 TPD.
Avino Mine, Mexico
Operations - 2019
The silver equivalent production in Q4 2019 decreased by 15% compared to Q4 2018 and directly corresponds to the marginal amount of production San Gonzalo contributed due to the mine’s planned stoppage. However, overall production results were higher compared to Q3 2019 due to the Avino mine performing well from a grade, throughput and mill availability perspective. The Avino Historic Above Ground (“AHAG”) material also performed well throughout the quarter.
In lockstep, the decrease in silver production and consolidated silver grade in 2019, compared to 2018, can also be attributed to the decreasing grade and planned shutdown at San Gonzalo.
The Mexican mining industry has not been immune to the civil unrest, labour disputes and uncertain economic conditions that has been seen across Latin America, but Avino continues to work closely with all stakeholders and communities surrounding the Avino mine, to avoid any disruptions and ensure continuous efficient operation. Avino continues to value its employees, contractors, suppliers and managers for their professional and fair conduct.
Consolidated 2019 Production Tables
*In Q4, 2019, AgEq was calculated using metals prices of $17.31 oz Ag, $1,482 oz Au and $2.73 lb Cu. In Q4, 2018, AgEq was calculated using metals prices of $14.55 oz Ag, $1,229 oz Au and $2.80 lb Cu. Calculated figures may not add up due to rounding.
*In 2019, AgEq was calculated using metals prices of $16.20 oz Ag, $1,393 oz Au and $2.96 lb Cu. In 2018, AgEq was calculated using metals prices of $15.71 oz Ag, $1,270 oz Au and $2.96 lb Cu.
In February 2018, Avino announced the results of an updated resource estimate for the Avino property. The updated estimate encompasses the Property’s San Gonzalo Mine, the Avino Mine vein systems, and the Property’s Oxide Tailings. The mineral resources estimate has been included in an updated technical report prepared by Aranz Geo Ltd. under National Instrument 43-101 (“NI-43-101”), which was filed on SEDAR under the Company’s profile on April 6, 2018. For More information see Avino’s press release dated February 21, 2018.
Why is the Avino Property so unique?
- There are 20 named veins on the property
- Over 50 additional veins on the property
- On the edge of a caldera
- Structurally controlled
- Multiple conduits for mineralization
- Geological window of exposed older host rocks
- Composite vein sets with different composition
- Bulk veins, narrow vein, gold, silver and copper
- An abundance of potential exploration targets
Exploration - 2020 Outlook
During the year, the Company plans to spend $1.5 million drilling 11,500 metres at the Avino mine property and will target the areas of Avino and the Santiago Vein. Exploration targets may not be limited to these areas, and during the year our priority targets may change if geological interpretations on other areas present enhanced opportunity. We plan to provide detailed information on our exploration targets in the coming months.
The Santiago Vein
The Santiago Vein will likely be one of the first exploration targets in 2020. It’s proximity to the San Gonzalo vein and the San Gonzalo mine make it an attractive starting point.
Historic near-to-surface mining on the property has left many clues as to where mineralization hot spots are located. Using modern technology to integrate, manage and interpret more than 80 km of Induced Polarization (IP) Geophysics, 1,500 soil samples, satellite imagery, data from ongoing drilling and historic data, the company will seek to define new high potential targets that were not visible or accessible in the past.
Avino owns both a surface and underground drill and conducts the drilling internally. The surface LY-44 drill was recently fully rehabilitated with replacement components to make it more powerful; it now has a capacity of 800 metres using an NQ drill hole diameter.
In 2019, we announced the results from a sampling campaign comprising 52 recent and historic holes that were previously drilled in the hanging-wall of the Avino vein stockwork system located on the Avno property. The relogging and sampling by the mine geology team of intervals previously regarded as not of economic interest has revealed extensive Hanging-wall Breccia (“HWB”) material with significant and consistent metal grades and wide vein widths. Please see Avino’s press release dated July 23, 2019.
In 2018, Avino released results from a drill program targeting the Chirumbo, Guadelupe and San Juventino areas which showed grade continuity and further extension of the main Avino vein to the northeast, and also demonstrated additional mineralization between the current areas at Elena Tolosa and the San Gonzalo mine (for detailed results, please see Avino’s press releases dated February 6, 2018 and July 11 2018).
In addition, 11 holes were drilled from the Avino Open Pit Mine Area from surface into the footwall and hanging wall to the main Avino vein, showing a range of gold, silver and copper grades at different widths (for detailed results please see Avino’s press release dated December 4, 2018)
Avino’s Mexican projects are under the supervision of Peter Latta, P.Eng, MBA, Avino’s VP Technical Services and Jasman Yee P.Eng, Avino Director, both of whom are qualified persons within the context of National Instrument 43-101 and have reviewed and approved the technical data herein.
Under National Instrument 43-101, the Company is required to disclose that it has not based its production decisions on NI 43-101-compliant reserve estimates, preliminary economic assessments, or feasibility studies, and historically projects without such reports have increased uncertainty and risk of economic viability. The Company’s decision to place a mine into operation at levels intended by management, expand a mine, make other production-related decisions, or otherwise carry out mining and processing operations is largely based on internal non-public Company data, and on reports based on exploration and mining work by the Company and by geologists and engineers engaged by the Company. The results of this work are evident in the Company’s discovery of the San Gonzalo resource, and in the Company’s record of mineral production and financial returns since operations at levels intended by management commenced at the San Gonzalo Mine in 2012. This approach is being applied for the advancement of the Avino Mine project, for which similar risks and uncertainties have been identified.