Pan American Silver, which has a number of operating mines in the Americas, said it hopes to double its output by 2013, following its announcement that it has seen its best Q4 to date.
Pan American Silver CEO Geoff Burns said 2009 overall had been a good year for the miner, which recorded its 14th consecutive year of silver production growth, with two new mines commissioned.
Record gold and silver production coupled with the resurgence of precious metal prices allowed us to post new records for both net earnings and operating cash flow,” Burns said.
”This performance and the maturing of our portfolio of assets has positioned us to be able to declare the first dividend to shareholders in Pan American’s history.”
Pan added the Navidad mine and a joint venture, the La Preciosa mine, to its portfolio this year which includes mines in Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia.
The La Preciosa silver project, jointly owned with Orko Silver, has already received a commitment of $9m this year for exploration and delineation drilling, metallurgical testing and engineering by Pan.
Pan American will also fund the construction of the La Preciosa project in exchange for a 55% interest in the asset.
The company purchased the Navidad silver project in Argentina when it acquired Aquiline Resources last month. It will spend $16.5m in continued exploration and project development at the project.
Burns said the company is expected to complete a feasibility study for the Navidad project either later this year or early in 2011, with a pre-feasibility or scoping study to be completed around mid-year.
In 2009 Pan American produced 23 million ounces of silver and 100,704oz of gold.
The company is expecting to increase its silver production by additional 400,000oz in 2010.