Our strategy is a key distinguishing factor in the precious metals sector:
Focus on generating free cash flow from long-life mines. Business is about returns generated from capital employed. Our mines have distributed over $520 million in profits, net of over $300 million of capital expenditures built our $210 million cash and short-term investments. No debt as of December 31, 2022. No equity raise since 2010.
Deliver organic growth through extensive drilling and consolidation. 1,000,000 metres of exploration drilling at our mines during 2020-2022 enabled production guidance increases. Mine optimization work is in progress to improve mine planning and mill head grades with XRT ore sorting, and maximize mining recovery with paste backfill. Construction is underway for a new 3,000 t/d mill and a 20 million m3 tailings storage facility to accommodate future growth from our existing operations and satellite projects.
Equity investments in world-class opportunities have added shareholder value. The $39 million invested in New Pacific Metals since 2017 resulted in several significant silver / gold-silver discoveries in Bolivia, including Silver Sand—flagship development project that has the potential to become one of the world's largest silver mine, and has increased to $98 million in value.
Ongoing merger and acquisition efforts create value by seeking attractive and complementary mineral projects in new jurisdictions. While we ultimately did not acquire Guyana Goldfields in our 2020 attempt, we realized a $20 million gain for our efforts.
Our long-term commitment to responsible mining and ESG is focused on delivering a sustainable future. We have 17+ years of strong community and government relationships, as well as a long record of safety and environmental compliance. We bring this operating philosophy to every project in our portfolio.