VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canadian zinc miner Trevali Mining expects to produce 140% more zinc this year, following a transformational 2017 that saw it produce a record 177.4-million payable pounds of zinc.
The 2017 output was boosted by the December quarter production from the newly acquired Perkoa mine, in Burkina Faso, and the Rosh Pinah mine, in Namibia, which it acquired from Glencore on August 31. Production for the assets from April 1 to August 31, was treated as part of the working capital adjustments captured in the purchase price calculation.
Trevali, which is based in Vancouver, on Monday reported record unverified fourth-quarter production of 104.8-million payable pounds of zinc, 13.5-million payable pounds of lead and 396 899 oz of payable silver. Preliminary 2017 output was reported at 45.8-million pounds of lead and 1.6-million ounces of payable silver.
Consolidated output was helped higher by sterling performances at Trevali’s Perkoa and Caribou (Canada’s New Brunswick province) mines. At Rosh Pinah, the mill re-grind circuit was completed during the fourth quarter and is expected to boost recoveries and increase concentrate quality going forward.
Meanwhile, at the Santander mine, in Peru, Trevali completed an upgrade to the underground water pumping infrastructure and this is expected to reduce the electricity requirements and improve overall mine safety as mining digs deeper below the water table.
“2017 marked a transformational year for Trevali with the acquisition of the Perkoa and Rosh Pinah zinc mines, elevating the company to a top ten zinc producer. These new assets have contributed significantly to Trevali’s production profile, leading to record quarterly and annual production, and we anticipate additional improvements through an ongoing focus on operational excellence in 2018,” president and CEO Dr Mark Cruise said in a statement.
The positive full-year production guidance dovetails into rising zinc prices, which hit a new ten-year high on Monday, as the suite of base metals rally on the back of a weaker greenback, and signals that the European Central Bank may start paring back its stimulus programme.
The three-month zinc contract prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 1.5% on Monday to $3 435.50/t, having earlier touched a peak of $3 440/t, its highest since August 2007. On-warrant zinc stocks in LME-registered warehouses fell by 10 000 t to 116 675 t, their lowest since early October, after fresh cancellations in New Orleans.
The market has expected more zinc production to come back on line, but this has not yet materialised, except for Glencore, which has curtailed some 500 000 t of capacity since 2015, and which announced plans in December to restart its Lady Loretta mine, in Australia, during the first half of 2018.