TORONTO, Canada:“We began to realize the benefits of the significant investments made over the last few years in our operations during the second half of 2019. This positive momentum is expected to accelerate in 2020 with the Candelaria reinvestment initiatives and development of Eagle East essentially complete and as the ZEP ramps-up. Our annual copper production is to increase over 20% this year, zinc production over 18% and nickel production over 22%. We are well-positioned to deliver multiple years of strong production, decreasing cash costs and free cash flow generation.”Marie InksterPresident and CEOLundin Mining Corporation.
Lundin Mining Corporation has announced its production results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and provided an update on operations and capital projects. The consolidated financial results for the year ended December 31, 2019 will be published on February 20, 2020. It has been a green year for the mining company as its 2019 annual production guidance was achieved for all metals at all operations, something very rare for a company of its size but achievable through sheer will power and dedication.
Its Candelaria copper production increased 9% year-on-year achieving 39,221 tonnes of copper in Q4 and a staggering 146,330 tones for the full year and, is well positioned to deliver a further 16% increase in 2020 whose guidance is projected to be between 145,000-155,000 tons. The Candelaria has a Mill Optimization Project which remains on-track to be complete in the first quarter of 2020.
Its other mining operation, Chapada copper and gold production exceeded and achieved guidance, respectively yielding 12,888 tons copper for Q4 and 30,529 tons for the year of copper. The company is continuing its work on optimization of the production schedule while options for mine and plant expansion advance in parallel with a significant increase in exploration efforts.
Eagle achieved nickel and copper production guidance. Nickel and copper production are forecast to increase 22% and 15%, respectively, at the midpoint of the 2020 guidance range as higher grade Eagle East ore contributes to the mill feed. Also its Neves-Corvo project achieved both copper and zinc production guidance. The Zinc Expansion Project (ZEP) continued to advance on schedule and budget for a phased start-up in 2020. Zinc production at the midpoint of the 2020 guidance range is forecast to increase 37% over that of 2019 as the ZEP ramps-up during 2020. Zinkgruvan zinc, lead and copper production all increased year-on-year in 2019. Increased zinc and lead production were primarily a result of sustained improvements in recovery and ore head grades.
The company’s financials have improved with Year-end net debt position was approximately $60 million, including $100 million in funds received from Freeport Cobalt after the sale of the cobalt refinery in Finland and related cobalt cathode precursor business.
Marie Inkster, President and CEO commented, “Our mines performed well in the fourth quarter, each achieving their annual production guidance. Particular recognition is owed to our Candelaria team which remained poised and focused on safe operations during a time of considerable unrest in the country.
We began to realize the benefits of the significant investments made over the last few years in our operations during the second half of 2019. This positive momentum is expected to accelerate in 2020 with the Candelaria reinvestment initiatives and development of Eagle East essentially complete, and as the ZEP ramps-up. Our annual copper production is to increase over 20% this year, zinc production over 18% and nickel production over 22%. We are well positioned to deliver multiple years of strong production, decreasing cash costs and free cash flow generation.”
The company’s safety performance in 2019 did not reach the mark as the Total Recordable Injury Frequency (TRIF) rate was 0.66 against a target of 0.60 per 200,000 person hours worked. While 2019 TRIF performance fell short of target, it represents a modest improvement over the 2018 TRIF of 0.67 (vs. target of 0.70). The 2019 safety performance incorporated the acquisition of the Chapada mine and was according to the company, impacted by project activities associated with Candelaria, Neves-Corvo ZEP, Eagle East, and several significant planned maintenance downs. The company’s 2020 Health and Safety Action Plan activities aims to focus on recordable injury prevention at each operation through the elimination of similar or repeat incidents, and by enhancing workplace hazard recognition and elimination processes.