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Revenues for Shafter Mine Owners Down; Production at Aurcana's Mexican Mine Up

Aurcana's mine in Shafter, Texas was shut down in December 2013. Two workers are seen smelting the last silver mined before the layoff in this picture taken November 6, 2013. (Lorne Matalon)

This week the Canadian mining company Aurcana Corporation released its 2013 financials. The company owns the Shafter Silver Mine in Presidio County and La Negra Mine in the Mexican State of Querétaro.

Silver production at the two mines dropped from about 1.4 million ounces in 2012 to just over 1.2 million ounces in 2013.

Operations at the Shafter mine were put on “care and maintenance” in December, which the company says was due to poor market conditions for silver.

Aurcana reports its mining revenue dropped from $25 million in 2012 to $11.5 million last year, also because of drops in metals prices and production of lower-grade silver.

The company's overall revenues dropped to $45 million in 2013, down from $56.9 million in 2012. The shutdown at the Shafter Mine cost the company $130 million.

Meanwhile, the company saw growth in production at La Negra mine last year – Aurcana reports copper, zinc and lead concentrate production grew by 7%. The company also recently undertook a series of expansions and upgrades at La Negra.

Despite the overall drop in production and revenues, Aurcana’s President & CEO Lenic Rodriguez says the company expects to become a “mid-tier” silver producer this year from operations at the Mexican mine alone.

A release from the company says it expects “significant increases in production in 2014 and beyond.”

Aurcana and its subsidiary Rio Grande Mining have been embroiled in a legal dispute with the Presidio County Appraisal District over its tax value since late last year. A settlement agreement in that suit has been proposed by the county, but there hasn’t yet been any formal agreement reached on that proposal.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.