Currently viewing Global edition

Crusher issue causes loss for Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Mining saw a weak start to the year with results below consensus expectations for the quarter to March 31.
Crusher issue causes loss for Copper Mountain Crusher issue causes loss for Copper Mountain Crusher issue causes loss for Copper Mountain Crusher issue causes loss for Copper Mountain Crusher issue causes loss for Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Mining's Copper Mountain mine in British Columbia, Canada

Copper Mountain reported a net loss of C$4.2 million on sales of $93.9 million. The company ended the quarter with cash and equivalents of $159.2 million. It also increased its all-in cost guidance for the year from to US$2.25 to US$2.75 per pound.

The company produced 13.2 million pounds of copper, 5,135 ounces of gold and 55,993oz of silver in the quarter for 15.6 million pounds of copper equivalent, 48% lower than the record production achieved in the prior year.

The company said this was primarily driven by lower mill head grade and lower throughput resulting from damage to the secondary crusher at its Copper Mountain mine in British Columbia, Canada. A new main shaft was installed in the damaged crusher in April and the mill is ramping up to full capacity.

"Lower production was a result of operating at reduced mill throughput and lower grade, as we continued to run the secondary crusher at lower power draw due to the damaged main shaft, resulting in low and very coarse feed to the mill.  This issue is now resolved," said Copper Mountain Mining president and CEO Gil Clausen.

The crusher issue contributed to C1 cash costs rising to US$3.58/lb in the quarter compared with US$1.15 in the prior year period, primarily due to lower production, temporary contractor maintenance expenses, temporary contract crushing expenditures and inflationary pressures on costs, particularly diesel. The all-in cost was US$5.08/lb.

"Given the previously announced damage, in our view, a slower production start to the year was expected, though the production results were lower than expected with costs well above expectations," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Rene Cartier.

The company is ramping-up the milling circuit to full capacity of 45,000 tonnes per day and it expects to be at this level through the balance of 2022. It also said higher grade ore from phase 4 of the main pit is planned for the second semester with the newly developed North pit providing the bulk of the feed through the June quarter. It reiterated its 80-90Mlb of copper production guidance for the year.

Copper Mountain also commissioned the trolley assist project to reduce carbon emissions at its Copper Mountain mine by at least 30%.

The company also entered into zero-cost collar options for 3.3Mlb of copper per month through 2022 with a floor price of US$4/lb and an average ceiling price of US$4.91/lb.

Shares in Copper Mountain Mining lost almost 9% in early trading to $2.90, valuing the company at $610 million.