VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 3, 2005) - GREAT PANTHER RESOURCES LIMITED (TSX VENTURE:GPR) is pleased to announce that it has commenced mining at its Topia Silver-Lead-Zinc Mine in Durango, Mexico. This is a major milestone in the development of the Company as it marks the transition from exploration and development to an emerging silver producer in Mexico.
Silver-lead zinc mineralization is being extracted from the west block of the Veta Madre, the principal vein mined in the past by Penoles. In this type of deposit, drill holes are commonly used as a guide to development, while drifting (tunneling) on the vein, including sampling at regular intervals, is the preferred method of developing a resource. In so doing, the mineralization mined during the drifting can help offset the cost of the development. The mineralization currently being mined at Topia is being stockpiled until the refurbishment of the plant facility is completed later this month, at which time it will be processed. Meanwhile, additional stopes are being prepared for mining in this part of the mine complex, known as the "1522 mine", as well as in the Argentina mine area. In terms of future production, the rehabilitation of the Argentina area is the main focus for the Company, however, the 1522 mine currently has easier access, allowing for mining to commence on a small scale while the development work continues.
A significant part of returning the Topia Mine to full production capacity is the building of an excellent on-site team of professionals, As such, the Company is pleased to welcome Ing. Luis Bravo to the position of Mine Superintendent. Ing. Bravo has 17 years experience in mines throughout Mexico and was recently Mine Foreman at Luismin's (now owned by Goldcorp) Tayoltita Mine in Durango. Additional appointments include Ing. Armando Aguilar as Plant Superintendent, Ing. Jose R. Navarro as Laboratory Chief and Teodoro Moreno as Maintenance Supervisor. All four individuals bring a wealth of experience in their respective disciplines and provide an excellent complement to General Mine Manager, Ing. Jesus Rico, who used to manage the Topia Mine for Penoles in the mid-1980's.
An underground sampling program, designed to test the reliability of historical data, compared Penoles' assays with Great Panther's sampling on three levels of the 1522 mine, near the west end of the Topia Mine complex. A total of 67 channel samples, taken at three metre intervals across the Cantaranas Vein, showed a good correlation in silver, lead and zinc with previous face sampling conducted in the same area by Penoles at the time of mining. (A working "face" is the rock exposure containing the ore that is regularly sampled prior to blasting and mining. After each blast the broken rock is removed and a new "face" is exposed and sampled). Gold values, however, were consistently and significantly higher (up to five times) in Great Panther's sampling, suggesting that the on-site laboratory was not properly set up to assay for gold at the time of mining and that much of the historical assays could be significantly understating the gold content of the veins. Samples from the current campaign were assayed at ALS Chemex Labs in Vancouver.
Overall, this study has resulted in an increased level of confidence in the historic data as it provides a guideline in the Company's delineation of a new, NI43-101 compliant, resource base for the mine. Higher gold values imply that newly defined mineralization could have a greater value than previously anticipated. Underground sampling is ongoing to further define zones of high grade mineralization accessible for immediate mining as well as others for future development.
Although Great Panther's 6,399 hectare property covers most of the district, discussions are underway with the owners of smaller mines previously existing in the area, that could lead to custom milling contracts. Historically, these operators have provided about 5% of the mill feed at Topia. In some instances, these properties are being considered for acquisition.
As reported in July, the Company has signed the formal purchase agreement to acquire the Mine, including a 200 tonne per day mill and complete mining infrastructure. The mine has already produced in excess of 15 million ounces of silver, 18,500 ounces of gold, 48,000 tonnes of lead and 44,500 tonnes of zinc, while district production, dating back to 1600, has been estimated at up to 30 million ounces of silver.
Once the refurbishing of the plant is complete, later this month, industrial scale tests will be conducted on the reprocessing of historical tailings material to determine the viability of recovering silver, gold, lead and zinc from the old tailings pile. As reported on January 10, 2005, the tailings pile contains an inferred resource (NI 43-101 compliant) estimated at one million tonnes of 70 g/t silver and 0.4 g/t gold, 0.3% lead and 0.7% zinc, with metallurgical recoveries from testwork approximating 75% for gold and silver (Ref: Material Change Report filed on Sedar Jan 10, 2005). If successful, the reprocessing of tailings could provide early cash flow while the mine itself is being prepared for the resumption of full scale mining.
The commencement of mining at Topia is a significant step in providing Great Panther with a solid foundation while continuing its aggressive growth strategy. The proposed acquisition of four mines in Guanajuato (as reported on July 20, 2005) and two major exploration projects further enhance the Company's desire to become one of the leading exploration and development companies in Mexico).
Aspects of the project 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 Topia Project under the meaning of NI 43-101, and has reviewed this news release.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Robert A. Archer, President & CEO
TSX-V Trading Symbol: GPR
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)