VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canadian base metals producer Trevali Mining has reported higher first-quarter earnings, as revenues were boosted by significantly higher sales volumes on the back of the Caribou mine declaring commercial production in the third quarter last year, and higher prices.
Vancouver-based Trevali, which operates the flagship Santander mine, in Peru, and the Caribou mine, in New Brunswick, and had recently agreed to acquire a suite of base metals projects in Africa from Glencore, said revenues for the three months ended March tripled to $59.5-million.
Higher metals prices during the quarter boosted the top line, as average realised zinc prices increased by 54% year-on-year to $1.26/lb, lead rose 28% to $1.05/lb and the silver price averaged $17.98/oz in the period, up 17% over the first quarter of 2016.
Net income for the period jumped to $2.7-million, or $0.01 a share, compared with $600 000, or nil a share, a year earlier.
Total output for the first quarter included 31.9-million pounds of zinc, compared with 13.7-million pounds a year earlier; 10-million pounds of lead, compared with 6.4-million pounds in the same quarter a year earlier; and 345 661 oz of silver, compared with 221 324 oz in the comparable period of 2016.
The increase in payable lead production resulting from Caribou coming on line, was partially offset by reduced output from Santander, as the operation focused on the zinc-rich Magistral Central and South zones during the first quarter. Santander lead and silver grades are expected to increase in the second half of the year as mining accesses higher-grade stopes from the Magistral North – Central zones.
The Santander mine continues to advance Magistral North ramp development in order to access the higher-grade zinc/lead/silver mineralisation in the Magistral North and Oyon zones, both of which remain open for expansion and will result in increased lead and silver output in the second half of the year and going forward, Trevali stated.
Santander is forecast to produce between 63-million pounds and 65-million pounds of zinc in concentrate, 12-million to 14-million pounds of lead in concentrate and 700 000 oz to 900 000 oz of silver. Site cash operating costs for 2017 are estimated at about $35/t to $40/t milled.
The Caribou mine’s transition to owner-operated with its new Sandvik supported mine fleet remains on track to start mid-year. Initial training and fleet deliveries have started, which when fully integrated, will likely result in improved operational efficiencies, including mine cost savings of about $5/t to $6/t.
For 2017, Caribou is expected to produce between 90-million and 93-million pounds of payable zinc in concentrate, 30-million to 32-million pounds of payable lead in concentrate and 800 000 oz to 900 000 oz of silver. Site cash operating cost for 2017 is estimated at about $55/t to $60/t milled.