VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - June 19, 2006) - GREAT PANTHER RESOURCES LIMITED (TSX VENTURE:GPR) is pleased to announce that it has officially commenced production at its 100% owned Guanajuato Silver-Gold Mine in Guanajuato, Mexico. At a planned throughput of 400 tonnes per day (tpd), the plant will immediately surpass the 200-250 tpd level at which it was producing last year when Great Panther negotiated the purchase of the operation.
Commissioning of the plant commenced in late March using low grade mineralization from older stockpiles. The first of the three 400 tonne ball mills and the flotation circuit have actually been ready for some weeks now. The plant has recently been operating at about 150tpd and the first concentrates have already been shipped to Penoles' smelter in Torreon. The decision to delay the start of official production until today was taken in order to ensure that mining contractors were properly set up and a sufficient number of stopes were adequately developed in order to maintain a steady supply to the mill once throughput was increased to the 400 tpd level. The refurbishing of the second and third ball mills is ongoing and it is anticipated that they will be ready well in advance of the mine stepping up to the ultimate goal of 1,200 tonnes per day by the end of 2006.
Mining is currently being conducted in the San Vicente North (SVN) and Guanajuatito areas of the mine but will soon be expanded to include portions of the Rayas and Cata mines. Both SVN and Guanajuatito are accessible by ramp from surface so development and mining costs will be reduced in these areas. Overall grades are expected to be somewhat variable in the short term as production from various stopes, including different types of mineralization, is blended and the company strives to achieve efficiences in mining such as keeping dilution to a minimum.
Current mining is being guided by the results of detailed underground sampling but a recently announced 3,000 metre underground drilling program will define zones of silver-gold mineralization in even more detail for production purposes and also allow for the preparation of a NI43-101 compliant resource.
Over the next few months, a total of 14 stopes are targeted for development in order to support the planned production of 1,200 tpd. This rapid development will be possible due to the extensive underground infrastructure present and to the purchase of new mining equipment. Great Panther's management has recently approved a US$2.25 million capital expenditure budget for Guanajuato, which will include both the mining equipment and a brand new on-site laboratory. The lab will be certified for NI 43-101 purposes and capable of processing the 65,000 plus samples per year that the company anticipates to come from both its Guanajuato and Topia Mines and all exploration sampling, including diamond drilling. The installation of this lab should be completed by Q1 2007 and will result in substantial savings for the company over time and shorten turnaround time for assays.
Great Panther owns a 100% interest in the Guanajuato Mine Complex. Historically, the Guanajuato Mine was one of the largest silver producers in Mexico and encompasses the core of the Guanajuato District, which has produced 1.2 billion ounces of silver and 4.5 million ounces gold.
Aspects of the Guanajuato Mine relating to mining and metallurgy are overseen by Ing. Francisco Ramos Sanchez, Vice-President of Operations for Great Panther and its Mexican subsidiary, Minera Mexicana El Rosario, S.A. de C.V. (MMR). Robert F. Brown, P.Eng. and Vice-President of Exploration for Great Panther and MMR is designated as the Qualified Person for the Guanajuato Project under the meaning of NI 43-101.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Robert A. Archer, President & CEO
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and forward-looking information within the meaning of the Securities Act (Ontario) (together, "forward-looking statements"). Such forward-looking statements include but are not limited to the Company's plans for production at its Guanajuato and Topia Mines in Mexico, exploring its other properties in Mexico, the overall economic potential of its properties, the availability of adequate financing and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements to be materially different. Such factors include, among others, risks and uncertainties relating to potential political risks involving the Company's operations in a foreign jurisdiction, uncertainty of production and cost estimates and the potential for unexpected costs and expenses, physical risks inherent in mining operations, currency fluctuations, fluctuations in the price of silver, gold and base metals, completion of economic evaluations, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, the inability or failure to obtain adequate financing on a timely basis, and other risks and uncertainties, including those described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2004 and reports on Form 6-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov and Material Change Reports filed with the Canadian Securities Administrators and available at www.sedar.com.
SEC 20-F Statement Filed
Standard & Poor's Listed
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Great Panther Resources Limited
Great Panther Resources Limited
(604) 685-9744 (FAX)