Lundin Mining Ramps Up Base Metals Production
Lundin Mining is bolstering its presence across Europe and beyond with a number of promising expansions, along with exploration and mine construction projects which will see the company head towards its 500,000-ton production target in the next two to three years.
Such ambition is amply demonstrated by the drive to more than double zinc output at Lundin’s Neves-Corvo mine in Portugal, while a $715 million investment into a new nickel-copper mine in Michigan, USA, is now operational.
The American acquisition from Rio Tinto extends the company’s reach beyond its European heartland, where mines in Portugal, Sweden and Spain are also performing well and have life ahead of them.
Away from wholly-owned operations, Lundin Mining also holds a 24 percent stake in joint ventures with Freeport in a high quality copper-cobalt operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in a cobalt refinery in Finland, granting vertical integration into the world of cobalt mining.
While current performance and growth has been steady, CEO Paul Conibear is aware that the business needs to keep exploring for the next high-grade copper discoveries and bring more assets on board.
“Our metal production is around 300,000 tons this year and I would like to get us up to 500,000 tons in the next two to three years which means an additional one or two more mines,” he said. “This will lift Lundin Mining to the sort of scale we want to be at, operating five or six strong mines.”
Lynas revenue jumps 21% as rare earth prices jump
Australian miner Lynas Rare Earths posted a 20.6% rise in revenue in the March quarter as selling prices for the key metals it mines hit record highs amid strong demand, particularly for neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).
NdPr is used in magnets for electric vehicles and windfarms, in consumer goods like smartphones, and in military equipment such as jet engines and missile guidance systems.
The company said it plans to maintain production at 75% however, as it seeks to continue to meet covid-19 safety protocols and grapples with shipping difficulties. Shares in Lynas fell 6.1% after the results.
“They have faced a few logistics issues, and it would be good to know when they are going to start lifting their utilisation rates a bit,” said portfolio manager Andy Forster of Argo Investments in Sydney.
“Pricing has been pretty strong although it may have peeled back a bit recently. I still think the medium, long-term outlook is pretty good for their suite of products.”
Lynas post ed revenue of A$110mn ($85.37mn) for the three months to the end of March, up from A$91.2mn a year earlier as prices soared.
It said its full product range garnered average selling prices of A$35.5/kg during the March quarter, up from $23.7 in the first half of the financial year. “While the persistence of the covid crisis, especially in Europe, calls for careful forecasts for our business ahead, we see the rare earth market recovering very quickly,” said Lynas, the world’s largest rare earths producer outside China.
Freight demand has spiked during the pandemic, while the blockage of the Suez Canal in March delayed a shipment to April.
Lynas’ output of 4,463 tonnes of rare earth oxide (REO) during the quarter was marginally lower than 4,465 tonnes from a year earlier.