While 2020 output was expected to come in near the top of Copper Mountain's guidance range due to higher mined ore grades, full-year production totalled 77.6 million pounds of copper versus the planned 70-75Mlb, with Q4 output at 23.1Mlb the 137-year-old operation's best ever quarter.
Gold and silver production were also strong during the period at 9,000oz and 145,000oz, respectively.
For 2021, Copper Moutain is targeting a 22% increase in copper output to 85-95Mlb, at all-in sustaining costs of US$1.80-$2.00/lb. Gold output should increase to between 25,000-35,000oz, and silver production is expected to rise to 500,000-550,000oz.
CEO Gil Clausen said the company was building its cash reserves to complete several low-risk, high-return growth initiatives at site, including completing a mill expansion to 45,000 tonnes per day by the end of the third quarter, before the focus would turn to an even more extensive expansion to 65,000t/d.
The company has earmarked US$33 million for expansion activities in 2021, with the bulk of the money set aside for a third ball mill as part of the ongoing 45,000t/d expansion.
Capitalised exploration for 2021 is forecast to total US$3-$4 million, and sustaining capital will total $9 million.
The exploration effort remains focused on near-mine resource expansion.
Copper Mountain last year reported higher-than-reserve-grade drill results and mineralisation extending below the conceptual pit design.
The company is working towards publishing a resource update for the operation later this quarter.
Shares in the company (TSX:CMMC) advanced 11% to a new 12-month high at C$2.42, capitalising the company at about $500 million (US$394 million).