Minefinders To Continue Focus On Expansion and Infill Drilling
VANCOUVER, BC - Mark Bailey, President and CEO of Minefinders Corporation, said, "2010 proved to be a challenging year for our operations. Our ability to achieve production targets at our Dolores Mine was hampered due to the tear in our phase 1 leach pad liner. However, following the successful commissioning of our phase 2 leach pad in September, we saw significant improvement in production during the fourth quarter."
"In other areas, our exploration and development initiatives at Dolores, La Bolsa and La Virginia yielded encouraging results. We will continue to focus on expansion and infill drilling at Dolores and La Virginia as well as commence exploration drilling at our other properties in Northern Sonora with the intention of drilling at least 50,000 metres in 2011." At the end of 2010 Minefinders reported improved financial results for the fourth quarter and full year which were primarily driven by higher gold and silver prices, higher average silver grades stacked, increasing crusher throughput and increasing gold grades stacked during the latter part of 2010. Earnings from operations increased to $14.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 as compared to $5.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Net income was $12.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with $4.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Earnings from operations for 2010 increased to $21.2 million from $5.0 million in 2009. Net income for the full year 2010 also improved to $6.1 million compared to a net loss of $4.3 million in 2009 with 2010 being the first full year in which the Company reported positive net income. The sustaining capital budget for the Dolores Mine is $12.3 million and includes $4.7 million to complete the construction of the reservoir dam, $1.6 million in plant modifications, $4.2 million in infrastructure and other operating equipment and $1.8 million in drilling equipment. A pre-stripping program at Dolores, estimated to cost $20.9 million, will be conducted through the year and involves removing approximately 16.3 million tonnes of non-mineralized overburden from phases 3, 5 and 6 of the open-pit. The program is designed to expand ore sources and to obtain and accelerate access to higher grade ore zones in these areas, benefiting production in future years. The stripping program will be conducted using a combination of internal and contracted resources. The $3.5 million Dolores development budget primarily includes development drilling to expand reserves and resources and is currently focused on infill drilling, pit expansion to the south and underground resource definition. The Company plans to drill 20,000 metres at Dolores in 2011. In addition, $2.3 million has been budgeted to continue to advance the La Bolsa property to construction and includes permitting, securing water rights, infrastructure development and drilling activities. The Company is continuing to assess the addition of a milling operation at the Dolores Mine and the development of the underground resource at Dolores. The Company expects to report further on these activities from time to time during the year. In 2011, the Company will also be assessing the viability of processing low grade ore through a dump leach operation. Finally, the Company plans to complete an update of the Dolores Mine reserve and resource estimate currently in process by the end of the first quarter and will announce these results when completed. The Company plans to drill over 30,000 metres in 2011 at its La Virginia property and at its other properties in Northern Sonora, Mexico. Exploration activities on the La Virginia property will focus on delineating a resource and attempting to expand mineralization at depth. Drilling is also planned the Company's Planchas de Plata property to advance development of a resource. Initial grass roots exploration is also planned at other properties such as Tepehuaje, Babicanora, Las Cruces and El Capulin. The exploration expense for 2011 is expected to total $5.9 million. The company's address is 2288-1177 W Hastings St.,Vancouver, BC V6E 2K3 (604) 687-6263, fax: (604) 687-6267.