TSX-listed Imperial Metals in the year ended December 31, managed to narrow its net loss from continuing operations to $40.2-million from the $109-million loss reported in the year ended December 31, 2018.
This amounted to a loss a share of $0.32 apiece in 2019, compared with a loss a share of $0.92 apiece reported in 2018.
The company last reported net income in the year ended December 31, 2017, at $42.8-million.
Imperial stated that an interest expense of $46-million mostly contributed to the income loss reported for 2019.
Meanwhile, Imperial’s 30%-owned Red Chris mine, in British Columbia, in the year under review produced 71.9-million pounds of copper, 36 471 oz of gold and 133 879 oz of silver, of which Imperial’s portion amounted to 50.3-million pounds of copper, 25 177 oz of gold and 90 577 oz of silver after it sold a 70% interest in the mine to Newcrest.
Imperial sold 70% of its interest in Red Chris to Newcrest in August last year for $804-million. The mine was classified as a discontinued operation from January 1, 2019, pending the transaction’s close with Newcrest on August 14, 2019.
Newcrest set a production guidance for the mine for the period August 15, 2019, to June 30, 2020 at between 63-million and 79-million pounds of copper, and between 36 000 oz and 50 000 oz of gold.
Exploration activity was ongoing around the Red Chris mine, with 17 500 m of drilling completed in the Gully and Fast West areas in 2019. Results from the Gully zone in January this year returned mineralisation including 304 m grading 0.2% copper and 0.44 g/t gold.
Imperial’s wholly-owned Mount Polley mine ceased operations in May last year, with year to closure date production totalling 3.8-million pounds of copper, 10 619 oz of gold and 11 119 oz of silver.
In the year under review, the Mount Polley mine incurred idle mine costs comprised of $7.8-million in operating costs and $3.1-million in depreciation expense.
The company’s Huckleberry mine also remained on care and maintenance since a shutdown in August 2016. Activities at the mine have since been focused on water management, snow removal in winter to maintain access and maintenance to site infrastructure and equipment.
Imperial has developed a preliminary plan to restart the mine, for such time when the economics of mining improve. Meanwhile, the company will develop exploration programmes to expand the resource.
In the year under review, the Huckleberry mine incurred idle mine costs comprised of $4.9-million in operating costs and $800 000 in depreciation expense.
Further, Imperial at its Ruddock Creek lead/zinc project in joint venture (JV) with Mitsui Mining and Smelting Company, Itochu Corporation, and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec), worked on a 2019 drill programme.
The programme consisted of 17 drill holes totalling 8 800 m. Results from the drilling included 40.9 m grading 16.8% zinc, 3.46% lead and 4.74 g/t silver.
Jogmec funded the 2019 drill programme and earned the assignable right to be vested in a 7.96% participating interest in the JV. Imperial’s interest has been reduced to 45.29%, Mitsui’s interest to 28% and Itochu’s interest to 18.7%.
The partners will complete a comprehensive review for the mine this year, using geophysical and geologic information from the last two years of fieldwork. This should guide future exploration work at Ruddock Creek.