Hudbay’s pocketbooks took another hit in the first quarter of 2020, but the company’s Manitoba operations appear to be right on track production-wise.
Company wide, Hudbay reported a net loss of $76.1 million in the first quarter of 2020, which the company put to lower than expected base metal prices and lower volume from Hudbay’s Constancia mine in Peru. The mine was shut down for eight weeks during the height of COVID-19-related measures in Peru, eating into the company’s bottom line and leading Hudbay to suspend its existing guidance for the mine this year.
Results from Manitoba-based operations are on track and affirming Hudbay’s existing targets. Neither 777 or Lalor mines or any other Hudbay facilities in Manitoba have closed during COVID-19.
“While we have suspended our Peru guidance due to the temporary shutdown of Constancia during the pandemic, we are affirming our Manitoba guidance after a strong operating quarter,” said Hudbay CEO Peter Kukielski in the company’s quarterly release. “Lalor and the Stall mill achieved record production levels and the New Britannia gold mill refurbishment, which will enable an increase in Lalor’s annual gold production to over 150,000 ounces, is on track for completion by the end of 2021.”
Specific to Flin Flon, the company reported zinc production from Manitoba similar to its results from the fourth quarter of 2019 due to lower production from Flin Flon’s mill and higher production from Snow Lake’s Stall mill. That said, more ore was milled in Flin Flon in the first quarter of 2020 than a year previous, going from 289,244 tonnes in 2019 to 332,589 tonnes this year. Copper percentages went down from 1.55 to 1.11, while zinc went up from 3.49 to 4.36 per cent and gold per tonne went up to 1.88 grams from 1.66 grams. Percentages for zinc percentage and gold and silver found were also up from the fourth quarter of 2019.
Recoveries of copper, gold and silver each dropped from both 2019’s first quarter and 2019’s fourth quarter, while zinc recovery percentage increased from the first quarter but came in lower than fourth quarter 2019 results.
At 777, ore mined has increased to 279,925 total tonnes in the first quarter of 2020, higher than the first and fourth quarters of 2019. More ore was also mined at Lalor than either comparable period, seeing more than 420,000 tonnes of total ore mined.
Meanwhile, Hudbay will proceed with plans to refurbish the New Britannia gold mill with an eye on opening the mill in August 2021.
“Hudbay intends to use local construction contractors from the Manitoba and Saskatchewan regions as much as possible in order to mitigate any potential risks due to COVID-19 considerations,” said the release.
No mention of the company’s Rosemont project in Arizona was made in the body of the release. No new updates to the project, which was blocked after permits needed for the project were withdrawn last year, have been recently provided by the company.