SilverCrest Mines Inc.

SilverCrest Mines Inc. brought its Santa Elena Mine from acquisition to production in less than five years, which it considers to be a significant achievement in today’s mining environment. The operation is confident this is just the beginning of the company’s and mine’s upcoming success, because the management team has more than a century’s worth of international mining success and there is a strong potential for resource expansion and underground mine development.

Based in Vancouver, SilverCrest Mines is a Mexican precious metals producer. The company’s portfolio of precious metal deposits and other quality exploration projects include three properties in Mexico.

Its flagship property is the 100 percent owned Santa Elena Mine, which is approximately 150 kilometers northeast of Hermosillo, near Banamichi in Sonora, Mexico. In September 2010, SilverCrest completed its first metals pour of gold and silver dore at Santa Elena. As of Dec. 31, the mine had produced approximately 2,140 ounces of gold and 54,900 ounces of silver as dore, with a significant amount of gold and silver still in solution for processing and recovery. SilverCrest explains the heap leach pad currently holds 6,800 ounces of gold and 370,000 ounces of silver that are under leach.

“The mine is a high-grade, epithermal gold and silver producer, with an estimated eight-year life of mine cash cost of less than $375 per ounce of gold equivalent,” the company says. “SilverCrest anticipates that the 2,500-tonnes-per-day facility will produce approximately 35,000 ounces of gold and 600,000 ounces of silver per year from the open-pit heap leach operation.

“Construction at Santa Elena Mine concluded on schedule and under the budgeted capital expenditure of $20 million, including ongoing working capital and contingency,” it adds. “In advancing the company’s objective to become a mid-tier precious metals producer, SilverCrest will commence initiatives to significantly expand production at the Santa Elena Mine.”

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A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) is underway to target a significant increase in production at Santa Elena Mine by 2014, the company says. The PEA also will examine development of SilverCrest’s Cruz de Mayo satellite deposit, with the potential to share resources and facilities with Santa Elena.

Cruz de Mayo is located 35 kilometers from Santa Elena. To date, the company says, 50 holes have been completed on Cruz de Mayo, and it has the potential for an open-pit silver mining operation.

Also close to Santa Elena’s current operations – just one kilometer north – is Santa Elena Norte (SEN). This is geologically similar to the main zone currently being mined at Santa Elena, the company says, and mapping at SEN shows an exposed outcrop with a strike length of 200 meters with epithermal quartz banded veins, stockwork and breccias.

“The width of the surface of the exposed mineralized structure is estimated at five to 10 meters, carrying grades of .5 grams per ton (gpt) to 2 gpt [gold] and minor [silver],” SilverCrest says. “Projection of the mineralized zone strike length, based on intermittent vein outcrops, is approximately 500 meters.”

The company’s other property is La Joya, which is located approximately 75 kilometers southeast of Durango, Mexico. This is a “prolific mineralized region,” SilverCrest says, that supports several mining operations, such as Grupo Mexico’s San Martin Mine, Industrias Penoles’ Sabinas Mine and Pan American Silver’s La Colorada Mine.