VANCOUVER — Pan American Silver Corp. (TSX:PAA) says its net profit fell in the first quarter due to lower base metal and silver prices.

The Vancouver company reported Wednesday it earned US$6.6 million or eight cents per share in the three months ended March 31.

That compared with earnings of $30.2 million or 38 cents per share last year due to lower base metal and silver prices.

Sales at the company, which reports in U.S. dollars and has eight operating mines in Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia, fell to $70.4 million from $108.8 million for the same period last year.

Pan American said the decrease, also due to lower commodity prices, was partially offset by an 11 per cent increase in production.

It said silver production grew eight per cent to 4.9 million ounces, compared to last year’s first quarter.

It also reported record gold production of 20,858 ounces, up 206 per cent from last year.

President and CEO Geoff Burns said the company, which had more than 3,800 employees at the end of 2007 and streamlined late last year to cope with lower revenues, is poised to grow again.

He noted the company recently announced a deal with Orko Silver to jointly develop a silver project in Mexico.

“With no debt, our major capital expenditures now behind us and our liquidity bolstered by February’s equity issue, we are well positioned to capitalize on new opportunities,” he said in a release.

I am also very excited to be partnering with Orko Silver in the joint development of La Preciosa in Mexico. The La Preciosa silver project already hosts a large silver resource and it is at an ideal stage to take the next steps toward future production.

In Wednesday trading on the TSX, Pan American shares fell nine cents to C$22.83

Source : http://news.guelphmercury.com/arts/article/480936

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