After a couple of quarters with lower than expected grades and silver production, Great Panther Silver (TSX: GPR) hit a smoother stride as it exited the 2011 fiscal year.

In a fourth quarter production update Great Panther outlined improvements across the board, with grade and output up at its Guanajuato and Topia mines in Mexico.

Great Panther hit guidance – albeit a lowered one – of 2.2 million ounces silver equivalent for the year.

The fourth quarter was a marked improvement over the third. Metal production, in large part thanks to gold, was up 13 percent to 545,294 ounces silver equivalent.

Ore grade hit its highest in over a year at the Guanajuato mine – 235 g/t silver and 2.12 g/t gold. Buoying grade was development of the Deep Cata zone where Great Panther mined 6,300 tonnes ore @ 482 g/t Ag and 1.83 g/t Au.

Great Panther also said it had sold a backlog of concentrates, which could boost the financial profile of the fourth quarter.

As for 2012, Great Panther said it is looking to higher production between 2.5 to 2.75 million silver equivalent ounces. Overall Great Panther said it expected ore grade to improve and throughput to increase over the course of the year.