Hudbay’s recent production numbers from both 777 and Lalor mines seem to emphasize a new rule: quantity over quality.
Ore mined at the two locations saw sizable increases in the second quarter of 2019 from the second quarter of 2018, going up by 35 per cent for 777 and 21 per cent for Lalor.
Hudbay’s Manitoba properties managed to mine more during the same time frame in 2019 than in 2018, even without Reed mine, which shut down during the third quarter of 2018.
Lalor and 777 produced almost 32,000 tonnes of zinc in the second quarter, along with over 6,100 tonnes of copper and 28,000 ounces of gold-equivalent precious metals.
Along with the increase in production came a reduction in copper and silver grades. Copper grades at the two mines dropped by double-digit margins – 36 per cent lower for copper and 14 per cent lower for silver. Zinc grades found at the two sites increased modestly, seeing a seven per cent bump. Gold grades from the mines were consistent with previous years.
“Lower copper grades reflect the cessation of high-grade copper production from Reed following its closure, while grade variances for zinc and silver were due to planned stope sequencing at 777 and Lalor,” reads a release from Hudbay accompanying the company’s recent second quarter report.
The amount of ore processed in Flin Flon dropped from year to year by 16 per cent, due in large part to the closure of Reed mine but offset by the increases in production elsewhere. Operating costs relating to Hudbay’s mine, mill and G&A unit were higher than last year.
”Combined unit costs were negatively impacted due to the timing of batching the Lalor ore in the Flin Flon mill, as not all of the ore that was transported to Flin Flon was milled during the quarter,” reads the release.
“Manitoba combined unit costs are expected to be within guidance ranges for the full year 2019.”