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UPDATE 1-Fresnillo expects lower 2021 gold output as land slip in Noche Buena mine hits ops

(Adds details on gold, silver outlook, COVID-19 related restrictions)

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Precious metal miner Fresnillo Plc forecast lower gold output for the current year than COVID-hit 2020 on Wednesday, mainly after a land slip at one of its mines in Mexico restricted operations.

The company, which is the country’s largest gold producer, said a land slip in one of the pit walls in the Noche Buena project last year resulted in limited access to mining in deeper areas.

In 2020, the company cut its full-year gold production outlook twice due to COVID-19 restrictions at its project in the Herradura district in Mexico, after it was forced to operate with reduced number of workers.

Mexico is one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic, with hospitals in Mexico City near their capacity due to surging cases. (reut.rs/3c7FSss)

The FTSE 100-listed miner expects attributable gold production to be in the range of 675-725 koz in 2021.

Gold output fell to 769.6 kilo ounces (koz) in the full-year ended Dec. 31, down from 875.9koz in the previous year, hit by pandemic-related restrictions.

The company, which owns seven operating mines in the South-American nation, said attributable silver production was expected to be in the range of 53.5-59.5 moz for this year, as it produced 53.1 moz of silver in 2020.

Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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