Low silver price forces Hochschild Mining to suspend Peruvian mine

LSE-listed Hochschild Mining has suspended operations at its Arcata precious metals mine in Southwest Peru, referencing a low silver price as the primary reason for halting production.

The Latin America-focused company, which operates three mines in Peru and one in Argentina, said the mine would be placed on full care and maintenance by the second quarter of 2019.

“This decision has been expected but is still disappointing for the organisation…but the continuing low silver price over some years and current geological conditions leaves us no option,” said CEO Ignacio Bustamante in a statement.

He went on to thank the workforce and communities for their work on the mine and said the company would work closely with its employees and contractors to mitigate the impact in a staged shutdown of operations.

Silver prices have been in decline since the record highs of US$49.5 per ounce in 2011, averaging around $15.7 per ounce last year. This was also about 8% lower than its 2017 average.

Last month, Hochschild set a 2019 production target of 457,000 gold equivalent ounces and 37 million silver equivalent ounces, excluding Arcata.