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Nyrstar’s 1st-qtr. zinc output falls on mining suspension

Keywords: Tags  zinc, production, Nyrstar, lead, gold, silver, results, Metal Bulletin Claire Hack


LONDON — Mining and metals company Nyrstar NV has reported an 8-percent quarter-on-quarter fall in zinc-in-concentrate production for first-quarter 2013.

Zinc-in-concentrate production was hit by the temporary suspension of mining activities at the Campo Morado Mine in Mexico, although the company is maintaining its full-year guidance for all metals.

Production of zinc in concentrate from the company’s mines came to 68,000 tonnes in the three months ended March 31, the Zurich-based company said.

The Campo Morado Mine suspended operations in February and March due to the temporary cancellation of the site’s explosives permit, it added, and operations restarted in early April.

A recovery plan is now in place to catch up on production during the year.

"Confidence in the recovery plan is in part based on the significant improvements in zinc, copper and gold grades and recoveries during December 2012 and January 2013, following the (optimization) program at Campo Morado in (the second half of) 2012," Nyrstar said. "While not expected to have a material impact on full-year mining segment performance, the suspension has had an impact on (first-quarter) mining production volumes."

The company was also hit by low delivery volumes from Talvivaara in Finland, which led to a fall in total zinc in concentrate of 15 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2012. The first quarter total for 2013 came to 70,000 tonnes.

Zinc metal production was 263,000 tonnes in the first quarter, compared with 281,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2012. Full-year zinc metal guidance remains at about 1 million tonnes.

At the El Toqui Mine in Chile, the company shifted its focus from mining high gold to mining high zinc and lead ore faces, leading to a significant improvement in zinc-in-concentrate volumes.

In Canada, at the Langlois Mine, the company’s focus is now on optimization following the ramp-up of operations in the first half of 2012.

First-quarter production of other metals in concentrate, including copper, silver and gold, was also affected by the Campo Morado suspension.

Gold production was hit by the change of focus at El Toqui, as well as the stockpiling of the majority of its gold to be processed into a higher-margin doré product in the second half.

Lead metal production at the Port Pirie smelter in Australia was down 11 percent quarter on quarter in the first three months of 2013 following an unplanned shutdown at the blast furnace for the installation of new equipment.

Meanwhile, copper cathode and gold production at the site were both up 67 percent and 38 percent, respectively, quarter on quarter, while silver production was down 11 percent because of the blast furnace shutdown. 

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.


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