Canadian base metals miner Lundin Mining has updated its guidance for 2019 to 2021, announcing an increase to its three-year production outlook for copper, owing to a refinement to the guidance of Candelaria, in Chile, and an expected early completion of Eagle East, in the US.
The group’s 2019 copper guidance is to produce between 199 000 t and 218 000 t, increasing to a range of 227 000 t to 246 000 t in 2020, and it is expected to reach 232 000 t to 251 000 t the following year.
The previous three-year production outlook had forecast 169 000 t to 183 000 t of copper in 2019 and 187 000 t to 201 000 t in 2020.
In its latest update, the miner stated on Thursday that Candelaria’s production would increase over the next three years, as it refined the near-term operating plans for the mine. The midpoint of the guidance range is now forecast to increase by about 15 000 t (11%) year-on-year in 2019 and by about 45 000 t (33%) in 2021, compared with 2018.
Copper production from Candelaria is now forecast to average about 180 000 t/y over the ten-year period 2019 through 2028.
At Eagle, first ore from the Eagle East project had been moved forward to the fourth quarter of 2019, from the original forecast of early 2020. Although this has not changed the copper production guidance for 2019, it has impacted on the guidance for nickel.
The Eagle mine is now forecast to produce between 12 000 t and 15 000 t of nickel in 2019, compared with the previously guided 10 000 t to 13 000 t for that year.
The mid-point of the forecast 2020 nickel production increased by about 3 000 t (21%) and copper production by about 7 000 t (52%) as a result of the completion of the Eagle East project.
In 2020, nickel production will total between 16 000 t and 19 000 t, before reducing to between 13 000 t and 16 000 t in 2021.
At Neves-Corvo, in Portugal, the zinc production forecast for 2019 has been lowered to align with the schedule of the current Zinc Expansion Project (ZEP), which will result in a significant increase in zinc output. Neves-Corvo will produce between 71 000 t and 76 000 t in 2019, but output once the ZEP comes on line will jump to between 120 000 t and 130 000 t in 2020, increasing to as much as 160 000 t in 2021.
Lundin also produces zinc at the Zinkgruvan mine, in Sweden, and has forecast total zinc output of 147 000 t to 157 000 t for 2019, 195 000 t to 210 000 t for 2020 and 231 000 t to 241 000 t for 2021.
Meanwhile, the firm said that the Candelaria mine’s C1 cash costs for 2019 should equate to $1.60/lb copper after by-product credits and that the Eagle mine’s cash costs were forecast to be about $2.20/lb nickel after by-product credits. At Neves-Corvo, C1 cash costs are expected to be about $1.70/lb copper after zinc and lead by-product credits and Zinkgruvan’s cash costs are forecast to be $0.40/lb.
In 2019, Lundin’s capital expenditure are forecast to be $745-million.