Hochschild CEO Ignacio Bustamante
The board of silver and gold miner, Hochschild Mining, has approved the payment of the previously suspended interim dividend, announcing on Friday that shareholders would receive a $4-a-share dividend.
The company, headquartered in Peru, and listed in London, previously postponed the 2020 interim dividend, owing to the uncertainties caused by Covid-19 and the risk to its operations.
Hochschild said that while the Covid crisis continued to affect Peru and Argentina, its balance sheet was strong with the mines delivering a period of steady operation under strict health protocols.
The board would consider payment of a final dividend in respect of the financial year ended December, at its February 2021 meeting.
"Hochschild continues to recover well operationally from the Covid-19-related stoppages and with the situation steadily improving in the region, our board considers the resumption of dividends as one of its priorities and confirms our confidence in the outlook for the business,” said CEO Ignacio Bustamante.
Hochschild remained on track to meet its revised production guidance of 280 000 to 290 000 gold-equivalent ounces (GEOs), or 24-million to 25-million silver equivalent ounces.
The all-in sustaining cost (AISC) from operations in 2020 would be lower than revised guidance at between $1 200/GEO and $1 250/GEO, or between $14 and $14.5 a silver-equivalent ounce.
In 2021, overall attributable production is forecast to be between 360 000 and 372 000 GEOs at an AISC of between $1 210/GEO and $1 250/GEO.
The overall capital expenditure budget for 2020 is about $120-million to $130-million allocated to sustaining and development expenditure. This includes a $9-million investment in the delayed expansion of the tailings storage facility at Inmaculada, as well as increased mine development work at Inmaculada. At San Jose, mine development work to increase reserves is also forecast to rise.
The brownfield exploration budget for 2021 is about $34-million with the greenfield and advanced project budget set at about $11-million and about $14-million for the BioLantanidos rare earths deposit, in Chile.
“We remain in a healthy financial position and with continued strong precious metal prices and our ambitious brownfield programme in full swing, we can look forward to an exciting 2021,” Bustamante said.