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Tahoe's Escobal operations "most impressive", says Dundee Capital

Tahoe Resources (NYSE:TAHO) (TSE:THO) was lauded Thursday by Dundee Capital Markets, which said the company was a "core silver name to own" after an impressive tour of its Escobal mine in Guatemala.

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Tahoe Resources (NYSE:TAHO) (TSE:THO) was lauded Thursday by Dundee Capital Markets, which said the company was a "core silver name to own" after an impressive tour of its Escobal mine in Guatemala.

"Our overall impression of operations at the Escobal mine was very positive which is what we've come to expect from Tahoe's top tier operating team," said analyst Matthew O'Keefe.

The visit included an underground tour where Dundee examined a series of open stopes, the mill, the processing plant and dry stack tailings operation, all of which the capital markets firm said were running smoothly. 

"The Escobal deposit was most impressive with current mining focused on the central part of the East Zone where the vein has a width of over 50-metres.

"Near term the mine should continue to impress given the current widths and grades averaging ~440 g/t," wrote O'Keefe.

Optimization also remains a focus for Tahoe in 2015 with commercial production approaching the one-year mark. The company is in discussions with the government on accessing existing power generation from coal plants located on the coast, as moving from diesel generators to grid power offers the largest cost savings potential.

If made available, it could result in approximately $12 million in savings annually, Dundee said, with other optimization opportunities including recovery improvements at the mill, fuel savings and improved mining efficiencies. 

Either way, O'Keefe said Tahoe remains a low-cost producer in the space, with fully loaded cash costs well below the spot silver price. 

The Dundee analyst reiterated the firm's buy rating on Tahoe, and increased the price target post site visit to C$23.00 from C$22.00 previously, citing a stable 1.8 percent dividend, a healthy balance sheet, a "best in class management team and top tier asset."

Dundee also highlighted Tahoe's exploration potential around the Escobal mine, as well as the company's pursuit of other Latin American M&A opportunities. 

The senior silver producer is guiding towards 18 to 21 million ounces of silver production in 2014, with an ultimate goal for a 20-year mine producing 20 million ounces per year.

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TSX:THO
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