Mill working better at Lac des les (August 20, 2007)

Improved mill availability and throughput at the Lac des les mine in north-central Ontario allowed North American Palladium (PDL-T, PAL-X) to produce 16% more palladium in the second quarter of 2007 than it had in the corresponding period of 2006.

Lac des les produced 66,651 oz. palladium in the quarter ended June 30, against 57,326 oz. in the second quarter of 2006. Production of all the operation’s byproduct metals increased as well; it produced 5,900 oz. platinum, 4,700 oz. gold, 594 tonnes copper and 325 tonnes nickel during the period.

The mill was available for 90% of the time during the quarter, a significant improvement over the 83% it managed a year before. Average daily throughput rose to 13,700 tonnes from 12,100 tonnes the year before, and along with that, mined grades increased reflecting more production from the underground mine. Average underground production rose to 2,141 tonnes per day, a 15% contribution to the mill, but carrying an average of 5.4 grams palladium per tonne.

North American’s revenues and loss figures improved year-on-year, as well; for the first half of 2007, the company is showing a loss of $3.6 million (17 per share) on revenue of $112.9 million, against a loss of $15.5 million on revenue of $67 million in the first half of 2006.

For the second quarter of 2007, revenue were $44.5 million, up from $35.5 million in the second quarter of 2006, and the loss was $9.1 million against an $11.3-million loss in the second quarter of last year.

The operation’s second-quarter cash cost rose to US$242 per oz. from US$219 in the second quarter of 2006.


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