* Q3 basic shr $0.20, meets consensus
* Q3 sales up 49 pct at $118.6 mln
* Silver production up 31 pct; gold rises 331 pct
* Expects to meet forecast annual production target for 2009
Nov 11 (Reuters) - Canadian silver miner Pan American Silver PAA.TO saw third-quarter profit almost triple as the expansion of two mines boosted silver and gold production.
Pan American, which operates mines in Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, earned $17.4 million, or 20 cents per basic share, in the quarter ended Sept 30, compared with a profit of $6.4 million, or 8 cents per basic share, in the year-before period.
Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 20 cents a share, before items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“The main drivers of our third-quarter performance were a well-executed start up of the San Vicente mine expansion, which has been producing silver beyond our expectations, and a solid quarter at Manantial Espejo,” Chief Executive Geoff Burns said.
Quarterly sales rose 49 percent to $118.6 million, with silver sales accounting for 63 percent of total revenue, the company said.
For the quarter, silver production rose 31 percent to 6.4 million ounces and gold production surged 331 percent to 28,017 ounces.
Pan American said it would meet its forecast annual production target of 21.5 million ounces of silver and 85,000 ounces of gold for 2009.
Shares of the company closed at C$24.77 in Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Valerie Lee)