VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 13, 2005) - GREAT PANTHER RESOURCES LIMITED (TSX VENTURE:GPR) is pleased to announce that the Company has officially commenced commercial production at its Topia Silver-Lead-Zinc Mine in Durango, Mexico. In joining the ranks of the junior silver producers, Great Panther has achieved its first major corporate goal. The Topia Mine, a past producer (1952-1999), was purchased in order to quickly establish a solid foundation for the future growth of the Company.
To date, lower grade mineralization from old mine dumps has been used for the initial stages of the plant evaluation, in order to ensure the smooth operation of all machinery and to optimize recoveries in the flotation circuits. There is estimated to be more than 2,000 tonnes of this low grade material at the plant.
Within a few days, processing will begin on stockpiled ore from the Veta Madre at the 1522 Mine. Approximately 600 tonnes of this material has been accumulated at the plant and representative sampling of the stockpile averaged 1,075 g/t Ag, 1.85 g/t Au, 11.34% Pb and 8.73% Zn. Historically, recoveries at the plant have been 86% for silver, 55% for gold, 94% for lead and 85% for zinc. Using silver, gold, lead and zinc prices of US$8.00/oz, $480/oz, $0.40/lb and $0.75/lb, respectively, this would put a value on the recovered metal of US$469.76 per tonne of ore, or 58.7 ounces per tonne of silver equivalent before operating costs. Both a lead concentrate, which contains the silver and gold, and a zinc concentrate are being produced and will be shipped to Penoles' smelter in Torreon, Coahuila.
A second high grade vein at the 1522 Mine is being developed for near term production. The Dos Amigos Vein lies in the hanging wall of the Veta Madre, approximately 150 metres from the latter, and closer to the portal of the mine. A ramp has been developed to access this mineralization below the main 1522 level where the Dos Amigos Vein was stoped in the past. Significantly, gold grades here appear to be more than twice as high as in the Veta Madre, with four channel samples of the vein in the ramp averaging 428 g/t Ag, 4.20 g/t Au, 9.61% Pb and 11.04% Zn.
In early January, the Company will complete approximately two weeks of custom milling for local small-scale miners who have been stockpiling their ore at the plant. There is currently about 2,000 tonnes of this high grade material waiting to be processed and the Company receives about 30 tonnes per day from 4 such operations in the district. For the next 4-6 weeks, production will be kept at a small scale of about 25 tonnes per day using only the day shift in order to monitor recoveries from the various ore types.
The industrial scale tests on the re-processing of old tailings material are now scheduled for mid-January and will determine the economic viability of recovering the gold and silver from the tailings. Once these are complete, the Company will be able to put together a more comprehensive production schedule that will allow the different types of material to be processed in batches in order to maximize throughput at the plant. Currently, the plant capacity is rated at about 200 tonnes per day, using one ball mill and a rod mill. Great Panther plans to gradually increase throughput to this level by mid-2006. A larger ball mill is also present, however, that could ultimately boost the capacity to 350-400 tonnes per day.
The Company is continuing to rehabilitate the 1522 and Argentina Mines and has completed 318 metres of new development to date. In addition to the stopes currently being developed on the Madre and Dos Amigos Veins in the 1522 Mine, a third vein, called Cantarranas, is being evaluated for its production potential in this area. The Veta Madre and Veta Cantarranas are both several kilometres long and provided the bulk of the ore for past mining campaigns.
The mine laboratory is currently functional and can provide qualitative analyses for day to day production purposes. New equipment is being purchased that will upgrade the lab to a level that will allow it to be certified for reporting purposes. The assays reported above were completed by ALS Chemex labs in Vancouver and check samples will continue to be sent there until such time as the Topia lab is certified, anticipated by early 2006.
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
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)