TSX-listed Lundin Mining has achieved, or exceeded, its yearly guidance at all of its operations, the diversified miner announced on Tuesday, releasing production results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2018.
The company produced 48 206 t of copper in the fourth quarter, taking full-year output to 199 630 t, which is at the upper-end of its guidance of 193 750 t to 201 250 t.
Zinc production came to 42 024 t in the final quarter and 152 041 t in the 12-month period, exceeding the 147 000 t to 151 000 t guidance.
Nickel output totalled 3 501 t in the quarter under review and 17 573 t in the year – in line with the guidance of 15 000 t to 17 000 t.
“We finished 2018 with strong fourth quarter operating performance at each of our mines and excellent progress advancing our growth projects. We are well positioned to deliver significant copper and zinc production growth in 2019 and the next several years from our existing portfolio of high-quality mines,” commented president and CEO Marie Inkster, who last year succeeded Paul Conibear.
Chile-based Candelaria achieved its full-year copper production guidance, producing 134 578 t. Ramp-up of the Candelaria underground mines continued in 2018 with the North Sector achieving a production rate of around 10 200 t/d, representing an 11% increase in ore production compared to 2017.
The US-based Eagle operation achieved and exceeded its full-year copper and nickel production guidance, producing 17 974 t and 17 573 t, respectively. Eagle’s fourth-quarter nickel and copper production decreased compared to prior quarters in line with planned mine sequencing and ahead of production from Eagle East, which is expected to produce its first ore in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The Neves-Corvo operation, in Portugal, achieved its full-year zinc guidance and exceeded its copper guidance. The zinc plant set a yearly throughput record of 1.1-million tonnes with the copper plant also setting a yearly throughput record of 2.69-million tonnes.
Neves-Corvo’s total contained zinc and copper production in 2018 amounted to 75 435 t and 45 692 t, respectively. Its Zinc Expansion Project was approximately 43% construction complete at year-end.
Zinkgruvan, based in Sweden, exceeded its zinc guidance, achieving 76 606 t for the full year. Zinkgruvan’s fourth quarter was its best quarter with improved zinc head grades and mill throughput.
Further, Lundin reported that its safety performance in 2018 was in line with its five-year health and safety improvement strategy, with a total recordable injury frequency rate of 0.67, compared with a target of 0.70 per 200 000 person hours worked. Lundin noted that 2018 was the sixth consecutive year that overall safety performance was better than the continually improved target.
Inkster added that Lundin remained focused on value creation through “disciplined investment” in its existing assets and potential external acquisition initiatives. “We maintain financial liquidity and flexibility to act quickly on opportunities with a substantive cash position and having increased and extended our low-cost revolving credit facility.”
Lundin’s year-end cash balance was about $800-million.
Financials for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2018 will be published on February 14.