NEW YORK Mercator Minerals Ltd. reported its second consecutive quarterly loss as it restructures amid a buyout by Intergeo MMC Ltd.
The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company cited falling metal prices in posting a net loss of $11.5 million for the three months ended Dec. 31. The company said in its earnings report it incurred a $167.8-million asset impairment charge last year after a deferral of its El Creston project in Mexico and operational issues at its Mineral Park project in Arizona (amm.com, Nov. 15).
Mercator is in the midst of a merger with Intergeo, a mining company controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorovs Onexim Group, with which it intends to create a copper-focused base metals company (amm.com, Dec. 12). Intergeos controlling shareholder, Daselina Investments Ltd., has agreed to invest $100 million in a private placement and provided Mercator with a bridge loan of $14 million in December.
Prokhorov is reportedly a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin. However, Mercator does not believe there is cause for concern over potential sanctions against Russia.
"Particularly given Mr. Prokhorovs investments in the United States, we do not foresee any problems with the merger," Mercator president and chief executive officer Bruce McLeod told AMM.
A combination of lower copper and molybdenum prices as well as lower copper and molybdenum output led to a 39-percent drop in revenue in the fourth quarter vs. the same period a year earlier.
Mercators Mineral Park Mine produced 8.7 million pounds of copper concentrates and cathode, down 12 percent, and 2.1 million pounds of molybdenum concentrates, unchanged.
Copper production was down because the company has been attempting to pay its equipment suppliers and lower spare part inventories, which lowered the availability of mining and milling equipment, Mercator said, but output has increased since it received the bridge loan in December.