Hochschild 2009 unit costs to fall

LONDON (Reuters) - Latin American gold and silver producer Hochschild Mining HOCM.L said on Monday unit costs were due to fall this year and reiterated its full year production target.

“We are focussed on producing profitable ounces and diligently controlling costs. We have already made good progress in this area and expect 2009 unit cost per tonne to be at least 5 percent lower than 2008,” the firm said in a statement to its annual general meeting.

The firm, which has six operating mines in Peru, Mexico and Argentina, again repeated its target of producing 28 million silver equivalent ounces this year.

On April 29, Hochschild posted a 16 percent rise in first-quarter attributable output to 6.7 million silver equivalent ounces and reiterated the 2009 production target.

The company also said it was in a strong financial position, with $200 million (126.6 million pounds) in long-term debt fixed at 2.75 percent. Debt repayments will be about $57 million annually beginning next year.

The firm swung to an annual 2008 loss after exceptionals of $19.0 million from an attributable profit after exceptional items of $85.1 million in 2007.

Editing by John Stonestreet