TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Molybdenum-miner Thompson Creek Metals earned $19,7-million in the third quarter, a decrease from earnings of $100,6-million a year earlier, but an improvement on the second quarter, when the company posted a net loss.
The company benefited from higher realised prices for molybdenum, which is used to strengthen steel, as well as increased sales volumes compared with the second quarter of this year.
However, prices remained well short of the highs experienced a year ago – Thompson Creek realised an average price of $12,75/lb in the third quarter, compared with $32,85/lb in the same period of 2008.
Revenue declined 65%, to $114,4-million, from $331,1-million last year.
The company produced 6,2-million pounds of molybdenum, compared with 6,5-million pounds a year ago.
Cash costs were lower, at $5,67/lb, from $7,33/lb in the third quarter of 2008.
The firm also announced it plans to ramp up operations at its Thompson Creek mill, in Idaho, to full capacity from January 2010, in response to the improved outlook for molybdenum market fundamentals.
The mill is currently running at 78% of full capacity, after operations were curtailed earlier this year as a response to sharply lower molybdenum prices.
Thompson Creek said that it now expects to produce between 24-million pounds and 26-million pounds this year, compared with a previous range from 22-million pounds to 26-million pounds.
In 2010, output is forecast at between 29-million pound and 32-million pounds, reflecting the decision to increase operations at the Thompson Creek mill.
Thompson Creek also produces molybdenum from the Endako mine, in British Columbia, Canada.