UPDATE: Capstone Up 1.5%; 2012 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Production Results Meet Guidance
Capstone Mining Corp. (CS.TO) today announced the operating results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2012 of its two operating mines, Cozamin and Minto. Combined production totalled 19.7 and 82.8 million pounds of copper in concentrates in the fourth quarter and full year 2012, respectively, with additional by-products of zinc, silver, gold and lead.
"We achieved our 2012 production guidance of 80 million pounds plus or minus 5% of copper, with both mines performing as anticipated in the fourth quarter," said Darren Pylot, President and CEO of Capstone. "The flexibility of having two operating mines allowed Cozamin's strong performance to more than compensate for the shortfall experienced at Minto during 2012."
Operational highlights for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2012:
- Production of 19.7 and 82.8 million pounds of copper contained in concentrates, respectively.
- By-product production of 4.3 and 17.2 million pounds of zinc, 415,060 and 1,759,352 ounces of silver and 0.5 and 2.9 million pounds of lead in concentrates, respectively. Final gold production is not available since assaying is conducted off-site, but is estimated at 6,785 and 18,599 ounces for the respective periods.
- Cozamin remained a very steady producer. Over the past two years recoveries have consistently exceeded 92%, with throughput increasing from an average of 3,000 tonnes per day in 2011 to 3,200 tpd in 2012. Despite copper grades trending down towards the reserve grade over time, continued exploration success has brought high-grade ore from the Mala Noche Footwall Zone into production and extended the current mine life (before inclusion of 2012 drilling) to nine years. Grades in the fourth quarter were above the guided 1.7% copper, driven by the ability to selectively mine high grade blocks in the West Zone.
- At Minto, 2011 and 2012 were transitional years as mining progressed into the Area 2 pit. Throughput has steadily increased at the mill, with 2012 throughput of 1.34 million tonnes up 7% from 2011. In December, regulatory approval was received to provide the flexibility to further increase the milling rate up to 1.5 million tonnes per year. Grades in the fourth quarter were at the expected 1.4% copper, and considered the plan changes due to highwall instability, which resulted in processing much more low-grade stockpile materials than long-term plans had anticipated. The previously announced accelerated pushback that was necessary to improve the stability of the west pit highwall continued throughout the fourth quarter. Mining in the Area 2 pit resumed in late December and we are working towards achieving the 2013 plan.
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