Pan American Silver is the continuing corporation of Pan American Energy Corporation, which was incorporated under the Company Act (British Columbia) on March 7, 1979. The Company underwent two name changes: in September 1984 to Pan American Minerals Corp., and finally in April 1995 the Company was renamed Pan American Silver Corp.
Pan American Silver was founded in April 1994 by Ross Beaty and John Wright, after Equinox Resources, which had been founded and built with a successfull gold mining company by Mr. Beaty, was taken over by a well-known U.S. mining company. Mr. Beaty realized that the fundamentals of the silver market warranted an increase in the long-term price of silver and that there were few well-valued and well-structured stocks available to investors interested in gaining exposure to silver.
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Pan American increased silver production to 25.1 million ounces and gold production to 112,300 ounces. The Company improved its portfolio of assets with the acquisition of Minefinders Ltd. and its flagship Dolores gold/silver mine in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. In addition, Pan American divested the high-cost Quiruvilca mine in Perú. The Company paid total cash dividends of $24.9 million, or $0.175 per common share. With an investment of $37 million in exploration programs, including $16.3 million in mine-site exploration, the Company discovered over 31 million ounces of silver to more than replace the 26 million contained ounces mined during the year.
Pan American produced 21.9 million ounces of silver, generating a record $855 million in revenues and record financial results. The Company returned to shareholders $105 million in cash dividends and share repurchases. Continued work at the Navidad silver project and filed a Preliminary Economic Assessment for the project. In addition, the Company advanced work at the La Preciosa joint-venture project in Durango, Mexico.
Pan American produced 24.3 million ounces of silver. In January, Pan American completed the acquisition of Aquiline Resources and the Navidad project. The Company invested approximately $37.5 million in development activities on the Navidad project and presented a Preliminary Assessment in December. In Mexico, Pan American invested approximately $10 million in development activities at the La Preciosa joint-venture. The Company also increased the availability of Pan American's corporate credit facility from $70 million to $150 million.
The Company increased silver production to 23.0 million ounces. In February, the Company completed an equity financing for gross proceeds of approximately $103.5 million. In April, Pan American entered into a joint-venture arrangement with Orko Silver Corp. to obtain a 55% interest in the early-stage La Preciosa project in Mexico and completed the expansion and commenced commercial production at the San Vicente mine. In October, Pan American launched a friendly offer to acquire Aquiline Resources owner of the Navidad property, one of the largest undeveloped silver deposits in the world.
Pan American increased silver production to approximately 18.7 million ounces. In Argentina, the Company completed construction and began production at the Manantial Espejo mine, making its first pour of silver and gold doré on December 29, 2008. Pan American also substantially completed the expansion of the San Vicente mine and increased San Vicente's production by approximately 33% compared to 2007. Finally, the Company entered into a $70 million revolving credit facility.
Pan American Silver achieved its 13th consecutive year of growth by producing 17.1 million ounces of silver. In Bolivia, the Company purchased EMUSA's interest in the San Vicente mine, increasing its ownership from 55% to 95%. The expansion of San Vicente commenced immediately afterwards. In Argentina, mine construction at Manantial Espejo continued to advance towards a 2008 start-up. Finally, Pan American initiated a green fields exploration program in Perú and Mexico.
Pan American set a new production record by increasing its silver production by 31% to 13 million ounces. In November, the Company completed construction of its seventh mine, Alamo Dorado, on time and on budget. Pan American also completed the acquisition of the remaining 50% of the Manantial Espejo project, thereby increasing its interest to 100%, and began construction of its first mine in Argentina towards year-end.
In 2005, Pan American produced 12.5 million ounces of silver and increased its interest in San Vicente to 55%. The Company immediately initiated a feasibility study to expand San Vicente's production to 3 million ounces per year. In April, Pan American began construction of Alamo Dorado and later in the year the Company completed a feasibility study on the 50% owned Manantial Espejo silver/gold project.
In 2004, Pan American marked its 10th anniversary by increasing silver production by 30% and producing 11.2 million ounces of silver. In Russia, the Company sold its 20% interest of the Dukat deposit to Polimetall for $43 million and more than recouped its investment. Pan American also acquired an 88% interest in the Morococha silver mine in Peru, which immediately added 1.2 million ounces of silver production per year to the Company's portfolio. In addition, the Company eliminated over $96 million in debt and raised $55 million by issuing 3.3 million shares. At year-end, the Company completed a revised model for Alamo Dorado, which would lead to a construction decision the following year.
In 2003, Pan American Silver produced 8.6 million ounces of silver. The Company acquired Corner Bay Silver Inc. and its primary asset, the Alamo Dorado silver deposit in Sonora, Mexico in February and began a review of the mine plan and commissioned an updated feasibility study. In July, Pan American completed the expansion and start-up of La Colorada, its purest silver mine. Later in the year, in order to increase productivity in Bolivia, Pan American optioned 49% of the San Vicente project to Bolivian mining company EMUSA.
In 2002, Pan American Silver increased annual silver production by 12% to 7.8 million ounces of silver. In February, the Company acquired a 50% interest in the Manantial Espejo silver/gold project in Argentina from Silver Standard Resources. In July, the Company began construction of a major expansion of the La Colorada mine and later in the year initiated small-scale mining at the San Vicente mine. In November, the Company acquired rights to the silver-rich stockpiles in the Cerro de Pasco district and signed a 10-year agreement for the sale of the stockpiled ore to a nearby smelter.
In 2001, Pan American increased its annual silver production to 6.9 million ounces from its three operating mines (Quiruvilca, Huaron and La Colorada). In April, Pan American began full-scale production at Huaron having fast-tracked the rehabilitation of the mine through feasibility, financing and construction. In August, the Company increased its interest in the mine to 100%. That year, Pan American began small-scale production at La Colorada and in Bolivia, the Company and COMIBOL entered into a two-year toll milling agreement with EMUSA to process 250 tpd of San Vicente's ore at EMUSA's Chilcobija mill.
In 2000, Pan American produced 3.6 million ounces of silver at the Quiruvilca mine. The Company also acquired a majority interest in the Huaron mine, located northeast of Lima in the Cerro de Pasco district, one of the most important mining regions in Peru. In Bolivia, Pan American completed a mineral resource study of the San Vicente mine in preparation of pre-feasibility work in 2001. In Mexico, the Company doubled La Colorada's silver resources and completed a feasibility study of the mine. In Russia, following legal proceedings, Pan American Silver agreed to become a minority joint-venture partner on the Dukat project and wrote off its entire $37 million capital investment.
In 1999, Pan American completed the $28 million capital investment program at Quiruvilca and increased the mine's silver production to 3.24 million ounces. In Russia, despite's Pan American Silver's ownership of the Dukat mining rights, a local company blocked the project by acquiring some of the mine's assets. Following this event, Pan American Silver suspended construction operations. In July, Pan American Silver signed an agreement with Bolivian state mining company COMIBOL to earn a 100% interest in the San Vicente silver mine in south central Bolivia and completed an intensive underground sampling program at the mine.
In 1998, Pan American produced 3.12 million ounces of silver at its Quiruvilca mine. The Company completed a feasibility study to resume production at the Dukat mine in Russia. In March, Pan American Silver completed the purchase of the La Colorada silver mine, located in the Mexican State of Zacatecas.
In 1997, the Quiruvilca mine produced 2.84 million ounces of silver. That year, Pan American signed an option to acquire a 100% interest in the La Colorada silver mine, in the Mexican State of Zacatecas. The Company also acquired the Dukat mining license, the third-largest known primary silver deposit in the world, in the Russian state of Magadan.
In 1996 the Company increased its interest in Quiruvilca to 100% and focused on the financial and technical turnaround of the mine to turn it into a long-term generator of operating cash flow.
In 1995 Pan American Silver acquired its first producing mine by purchasing 80% of the Quiruvilca silver-zince mine, located in the Peruvian Andes and began a $28 million capital investment program in the mine.