European copper producer Atalaya Mining on Monday posted an 8% year-on-year increase in first-quarter copper production to 10 219 t.
Compared with the fourth quarter of last year, which was a record three-month period, output fell by 9%, as a result of slightly lower throughput and head grade, but the Aim- and TSX-listed miner said that it was in line with its expectations.
Atalaya's Proyecto Riotinto mine, in Spain, processed 2.4-million tonnes of ore with an average copper head grade of 0.46% and a recovery rate of 90.27% in the quarter under review.
The guidance for copper production in 2019 is estimated to be in the range of 45 000 t to 46 500 t.
“This year is anticipated to be one of transition given the upcoming commissioning of the plant expansion, which is expected to increase production to within the range of 50 000 t to 55 000 t in 2020,” Atalaya reminded shareholders.
The 15-million-tonne-a-year expansion is progressing according to plan and the company stated that it remained on track for mechanical completion by the end of the second quarter.
Further, Atalaya noted that its cash operating costs for the first quarter were expected to be lower than the yearly cost guidance range previously provided of $1.95/lb to $2.15/lb.
Its financial report for the March quarter will be published in May.