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Thompson Creek profits hit by moly prices

Keywords: Tags  Thompson Creek Metals, quarterly earnings, molybdenum prices, Endako Mine, molybdenum production, Kevin Loughrey, Mount Milligan project, molybdenum Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Thompson Creek Metals Co. Inc. posted a marginal first-quarter profit and year-on-year decrease in revenue due to lower molybdenum sales prices.

The Denver-based company’s net income for the three months ended March 31 totaled $900,000, down 18.2 percent from $1.1 million a year earlier, on revenue that fell 4.3 percent to $108.7 million from $113.6 million.

However, operational performance improved, with molybdenum production rising 74 percent to 7.7 million pounds from 4.4 million pounds a year earlier.

Total sales of molybdenum increased 18.5-percent to 8.8 million pounds from 7.4 million pounds, while production costs decreased 54-percent to $5.91 per pound from $12.95 per pound.

The company’s bottom line was impacted by a 19.5-percent drop in the average realized molybdenum sales price to $11.87 per pound from $14.74 per pound in the first quarter of 2012.

"The moly market struggling to get its legs out from underneath itself is probably the bad news for the quarter," Thompson Creek chairman and chief executive officer Kevin Loughrey said in a conference call with analysts.

Operational improvements at the Thompson Creek Mine were attributed to planned mine pit sequencing and mining in a higher-grade section, together with the suspension of waste-stripping activity.

The company will consider a decision "to resume stripping or put the mine on care and maintenance as market conditions warrant," executive vice president and chief financial officer Pamela L. Saxton said during the call.

While production at the Endako Mine also improved on a year-on-year basis, output was negatively impacted by issues caused by frozen water at the site’s tailings pond beginning in December 2012 (, Feb. 25).

"The company has completed initial remediation work and instituted tailings management procedures to address these issues to ensure sufficient water supply to the mill for future winter seasons beyond 2013," it said.

Meanwhile, construction of the Mount Milligan copper-gold project has progressed to the 89-percent completion mark. Commissioning and start-up are expected in August 2013, followed by commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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