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Silver Standard Resources Inc. (SSRI - Snapshot Report) has signed two additional long-term silver concentrate sales contracts, totaling approximately 500 tons of silver concentrate per month.

The shipments under the new contracts are slated to begin in July. The new contracts will help the company clear its excess silver concentrate inventory. The company noted that during the latter half of 2012, Silver Standard will sell silver concentrate into four long-term contracts and will continue with spot sales.

Earlier in March, Silver Standard had entered into two separate contracts with smelters to sell a significant portion of monthly silver concentrate production from its Pirquitas silver mine in Argentina. The two contracts totaled 700 tons of silver concentrate per month or approximately 60% of the monthly production at Pirquitas. As per the contracts, Silver Standards began shipment of silver concentrate in April with the contracts effective for the remainder of 2012.

During the first quarter of 2012, the Pirquitas mine attained a record quarterly production of 2.2 million ounces of silver compared with 1.8 million ounces in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 1.7 million ounces in the first quarter of 2011. Improvements made to the crusher, the ball mill gearbox and several operating processes in 2011 and 2012, which increased plant throughput and operating performance, led to the stellar performance. Silver Standard expects to produce 8.2 to 8.5 million ounces of silver in 2012.

Vancouver Canada-based Silver Standard Resources engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and operation of silver-dominant resource properties mainly in the Americas. It primarily explores silver, zinc, gold, lead, and manganese deposits.

The company’s principal projects include the Pirquitas Mine located in the province of Jujuy in northern Argentina; the San Luis gold-silver project located in central Peru; the Pitarrilla and San Agustin projects located in Durango State, Mexico; and the Diablillos gold-silver project located to the southwest of Salta on the altiplano of northern Argentina. It competes with BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP - Analyst Report) and Grupo Mexico SAB de CV .

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