Coeur pushes back Rochester expansion 

Capital requirements grow at US silver-gold project

Nathan Richardson
Coeur pushes back Rochester expansion 

The Nevada-based silver-gold Rochester operation is now expected to complete the stage-six leach pad and Merrill-Crowe process plant in mid-2023, rather than the initially targeted mid-2022 and year-end 2022, respectively. The crushing circuit was pushed back from the end of 2022 to the third quarter of 2023. 

The company now estimates that capital for the expansion will be about US$520 million, with an additional US$70 million-US$80 million for pre-screens into the new crusher circuit and the associated re-assessment of project contingency. 

BMO Capital Markets analyst Ryan Thompson said BMO's estimate for the project was US$500 million and the higher capital and longer timeline would weigh on the stock. 

"[Coeur] previously reported it was contemplating modifications to the crushing circuit [pre-screens] but the additional cost of US$70 million-US$80 million (which includes a reassessment of project contingency) was not previously announced," he said. 

Elsewhere, Thompson said: "Q4 production was roughly in-line, but earnings missed on higher-than-expected costs. 2022 silver guidance is in line, but gold is a bit light (-7%) and costs are higher (+8%)". 

Coeur reported fourth-quarter gold and silver production of 88,946 ounces and 2.6 million ounces, which were up 2% and 6% quarter-on-quarter, respectively. 

That took full-year gold and silver production to 348,529oz and 10.1Moz, respectively, which was in line with guidance for both metals. 

"Q4 adjusted earnings per share loss of US$0.05 missed our estimate and consensus of US$0.02, mostly on higher-than-expected costs," Thompson said. 

Coeur's full-year 2022 production guidance was set at 3Moz-4Moz of silver and 35,000-43,000oz of gold. 

Coeur last traded on the New York Stock Exchange at US$4.52/share, which was down 15%.

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