Canadian miner Teck Resources has missed its production guidance for copper in 2022, but the company has set its sights on significantly higher output this year, as its new mine in Chile continues to ramp up.
Copper production in 2023 will be in the range of 390 000 t to 445 000 t, with Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) mine adding substantially to overall copper production, compared with 2022.
The mine would ramp up to full capacity by year-end, Teck said on Monday, stating that it would help increase group production to between 545 000 t and 640 000 t in 2024 to 2026.
The 2023 increase from QB2 will be partially offset by lower production at Highland Valley Copper, in British Columbia, owing to harder ore and lower grades as part of an update to the mine plan, as well as lower copper grades at Antamina, in Peru, the company said.
In 2022, Teck produced 270.5-million tonnes of copper, missing its guidance of 273 000 t to 290 000 t. Production was impacted by a temporary pit closure at Highland Copper, owing to a localised geotechnical event in December, as well as extreme weather and unplanned maintenance at Carmen de Andacollo, in Chile, in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Teck also fell short on its 2022 refined zinc output and steelmaking coal production in Canada.
The company produced 248 900 t of zinc at the Trail Operations, in British Columbia, compared with the guided 257 000 t to 267 000 t. The lower-than-planned output is owing to the extension of major planned maintenance activities on the Kivcet boiler and unplanned downtime owing to extreme cold weather in December.
Refined zinc output should recover to between 280 000 t and 290 000 t this year, increasing to between 280 000 t and 310 000 t in 2024 to 2026.
Steelmaking coal production of 21.5-million tonnes came in just below the 22-million- to 22.5-million-tonne target, reflecting a two-month outage at the Elkview operations, in British Columbia, for the repair of the plant feed conveyor failure, plant availability challenges, ongoing labour constraints, and extreme weather events early in 2022 and in December.
Teck is forecasting 24-million to 26-million tonnes for 2023, as well as for 2024 to 2026. This is lower than previous forecasts, owing to “uncertainties relating to ongoing labour impacts and increasing frequency of adverse weather events”.
The miner said that labour constraints were negatively impacting on equipment operating hours, despite improved workforce attraction and retention from initiatives implemented in 2022.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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