VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canadian base metals producer Hudbay Minerals has reported higher fourth-quarter earnings and sales as higher copper and zinc prices pushed the miner back into the black, the company reported on Wednesday.
The TSX- and NYSE-listed miner said a 32% year-on-year rise in copper prices and 29% higher zinc prices over the same period lifted net income for the quarter ended December 31, to $99.7-million or $0.38 a share. This contrasted with a net loss of $47.3-million, or $0.20 a share, in same quarter of 2016.
Headquartered in Toronto and active in Peru and Manitoba, Canada, Hudbay's revenue rose about 31% year-on-year to $414-million in the quarter, up from $316-million in the prior-year period.
Copper-in-concentrate output for the fourth quarter was 43 175 t – essentially flat year-on-year – while zinc output climbed 13% year-on-year to 33 055 t. Gold and silver output also improved to 32 528 oz and one-million ounces, respectively.
CEO and president Alan Hair noted in a statement that the company ended 2017 on a positive note by achieving or exceeding production guidance and continuing to grow positive free cash flow while reducing debt.
Hudbay's operating cash flow was $172-million in the fourth quarter, up 41% on the comparable period of 2016.
The company also stressed that it had reduced its net debt position by $462-million year-on-year in its fourth quarter, from $1.09-billion to $623-million.
Hudbay advised that copper contained in concentrate is expected to drop by about 15% to a range between 122 500 t and 147 500 t for this year, compared with the 159 192 t produced in 2017, owing to lower copper grades at Constancia, in Peru, as mining shifts to lower-grade hypogene ore in the main pit, in line with the mine plan, and the Manitoba-based Reed mine closes.
Zinc concentrate output for this year is forecast to fall by about 13% to a range of 105 000 t to 130 000 t, compared with 2017 output of 135 156 t, on account of lower zinc grades at the 777 and Lalor mines, in Manitoba, in line with the respective mine plans, the company said.
Hudbay's TSX-listed equity rose as much as 8.4% on Thursday to an intra-day high of C$11.24 apiece.