Facilitated by China’s 1997 Mineral Resource Law (click here), Silvercorp first entered China in 2003 to capitalize on the country’s vastly underexplored geological potential. While the Chinese government invested tremendously in geological exploration in the 1950s and 1960s, leading to many discoveries, very little capital or advanced exploration technology was available to exploit them fully. China's 1997 Mineral Resource Law was adopted specifically to enable foreign mining companies to explore and mine in the country -- inviting in the advanced exploration technology, expertise and funding China needed to truly develop its resources.
In 2004, Silvercorp acquired the Ying project, a small producing mine in the Henan province, and exploration over the next two years led to the discovery of high-grade silver-lead-zinc mineralization in a multitude of narrow veins similar to the prolific Coeur d’Alene silver district in Idaho, U.S.A. On March 31, 2006, Silvercorp received its first mining permit from the Ministry of Land & Resources and commercial production of silver, lead and zinc from the Ying mine began the next day. Following on its success at the Ying mine, Silvercorp acquired three nearby mines – HPG, TLP & LM – to consolidate the Ying Mining District in 2007.
Today, Silvercorp is China’s largest primary silver producer, having achieved its fifth consecutive year of production growth with annual production of 5.3 million ounces of silver in fiscal year 2011. The Company also produced 69.0 million pounds of lead and 16.3 million pounds of zinc during the same period.
Due to the low costs of operating in China, along with the high efficiency of a skilled labour force, Silvercorp has enjoyed industry-leading profitability and returns among its industry peers. In fiscal 2011, the company generated net profits of $68.9-million on sales of $167-million, representing earnings of $0.41 per share. As testament to its profitability - and a demonstration of its ability to repatriate profits – the company continues to steadily increase its dividends to shareholders. Beginning with an annual dividend of $0.05 per share in October 2007 and growing to $0.08 per annum ($0.02/quarter) in August 2008, Silvercorp further increased its dividend in November 2011, and now provides $0.10 per annum ($0.025/quarter) to its shareholders.
In addition to its operational success, Silvercorp is considered a preferred mining company in the Henan province, having built a solid reputation for upholding high safety and environmental standards and for supporting local community initiatives. Additionally, Silvercorp has become the largest non-state-controlled company and one of the top tax payers in Luoyang City. This strong brand name has been instrumental in gaining and building the support of city, county and provincial governments. In 2011, Silvercorp acquired the nearby XBG & XHP mines in Henan province, furthering the company’s goal of consolidating the region around the Ying Mining District.
In the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, Silvercorp commenced gold production at its second production foothold in China, the BYP gold-lead-zinc project in Hunan Province which the Company acquired in January 2011. Silvercorp is also building the GC silver-lead-zinc project in Guangdong Province as its third China production base.
In Canada, Silvercorp is preparing to apply for a Small Mine Permit for the Silvertip high grade silver-lead-zinc mine project in northern British Columbia. The Silvertip project fits Silvercorp's strategy of targeting high-grade deposits that can generate early cash flows and it also represents a launching point for growth in North America.
Silvercorp plans to continue its growth through future consolidation, exploration, mine development and acquisition, with a focus in China.
The Company’s shares are listed for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (the “TSX”) and on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”), each under the symbol “SVM”, and the Company is a reporting issuer in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Prior to being listed on the TSX and NYSE, Silvercorp traded on the TSX Venture Exchange and NYSE Amex.
Silvercorp was formed as Spokane Resources Ltd. pursuant to an amalgamation of Julia Resources Corporation and MacNeill International Industries Inc. under the Company Act (British Columbia) on October 31, 1991. By a special resolution dated October 5, 2000, Spokane Resources Ltd. consolidated its share capital on a ten for one basis and altered its Memorandum and Articles of Incorporation by changing its name to “SKN Resources Ltd.” On May 2, 2005, the Company filed a Notice of Alteration with the Registrar of Companies changing its name from “SKN Resources Ltd.” to “Silvercorp Metals Inc.”.
Dr. Rui Feng, Chairman CEO, joined the company on September 5, 2003. Myles Gao, President and COO, joined the company as a director on November 25, 2002. Under new leadership, Silvercorp was steered towards growth in China to become China’s largest primary silver producer and the lowest cost silver producer among its global peers.
Last updated December 8, 2011