Boliden's net profit increased 13.3% in the first quarter of
2012 compared with the same period in 2011, thanks to higher
sales and rises in base metals prices.
The Swedish miner's profit came to a total of 1.09 billion SKr
($161 million) for the three months ended March 31, compared with 961 million SKr in the first
quarter of 2011
"Sales increased in comparison with the previous quarter due to
higher prices for all metals. The metal premium for copper rose
during the quarter," the company said in its results release
for the quarter.
Operating profit was also up, at 1.5 billion SKr, compared with
1.4 billion SKr in the first quarter of 2011, and 1.1 billion
SKr in the fourth quarter.
Revenue increased to 10.32 billion SKr in the first three
months of 2012, from 10.16 billion SKr in the same period a
Boliden conceded, however, that demand for metals fell both on
a global and a European level during the period.
The company's net debt also rose year-on-year to 5.15 billion
SKr for the period, from 4.11 billion SKr in the same period in
Zinc concentrate up
Zinc in concentrate production, meanwhile, was up 1% year on
year, to 73,790 tonnes for the first quarter of this year, and
15% quarter on quarter.
This was thanks to stable production and higher grades at the
Tara mine in Ireland, and higher grades at Garpenberg in
"TC/RCs [treatment and refining charges] were stable at low
levels on the spot market and were substantially lower than the
realised level in the benchmark contracts for 2012," Boliden
"The concentrate surplus in China notwithstanding, TC/RCs on
the spot market have continued to remain low. Spot premiums in
Europe were stable in comparison with the fourth quarter of
Copper in concentrate production, however, slipped 8% year on
year, and 6% quarter on quarter, to 18,888 tonnes.
"The reduction in comparison with the previous quarter was due
to lower grades in the Boliden Area," the company said.
"Lower grades at Aitik [in Sweden] and in the Boliden Area in
comparison with the previous year resulted in reduced copper
One of the crushers at Aitik underwent an upgrade in February
and March in order to improve its performance.
"The upgrade had a negative effect on Boliden Area mines'
operating profit of approximately 50 million SKr during the
quarter," Boliden said.
"The measures implemented are currently being evaluated, and
the preliminary results look good with regard to production
stability. The other crusher will be upgraded later during the
year, and is expected to have only a limited effect on the
Lead in concentrate production also rose in comparison with
quarter on quarter, to 12,629 tonnes, following an increase in
volumes at Tara, but remained flat against the first quarter of
Overall zinc production was up 2% year on and 4% quarter on
quarter in the first three months of 2012, to 118,345 tonnes.
"The increase in zinc production in comparison with the
previous quarter was primarily due to the strike in Finland in
October 2011, which reduced production volumes at Kokkola,"
"Odda's zinc production [in Norway] was affected by a
maintenance shutdown brought forward from April to February."
Overall copper production came to 84,516 tonnes for the three
months ended March 31, up 4% year on year, but down 4% quarter
The drop compared with the previous quarter was due to quality
problems at the Rönnskär cathode production line in
Sweden, while the rise year on year came as a result of
improved production stability at Harjavalta in Finland.
Lead metal production increased 7% year on year, and 152%
quarter, to 5,498 tonnes, thanks to increased processing of
lead in concentrate.
In the coming quarter, major maintenance shutdowns are to take
place at Harjavalta and Rönnskär, with an expected
impact on operating profit for the company's smelting
operations of about 130 million SKr.