Vancouver – Fourth quarter copper and gold production from Quadra Mining‘s (QUA-T, QADMF-O) flagship Robinson mine near Ely, Nevada was up significantly driving last year’s total metals output above forecasts.
Fourth quarter 2006 production came in at 35.3 million lbs. of copper and 27,646 oz. of gold from the large open pit operation. Output for the full year was 121.4 million lbs. copper and 75,074 oz. gold, exceeding the company’s revised production estimates by about 6% and 30% for copper and gold respectively.
“We made significant progress during the quarter in getting on top of the metallurgical issues confronting us and were able to deliver our best quarter of 2006, as well as exceeding our revised annual guidance,” stated Quadra president Paul Blythe.
“We are now out of the supergene zone that contained the non-acid soluble copper that impacted on our recovery,” continued Blythe. “Over the last two weeks of 2006 as we began mining the lower benches, we saw recoveries return to more normal levels of approximately 80%. Gold grade and recoveries continued to exceed expectations so that the overall production for the year was similar to that of 2005.”
Quadra expects its Robinson mine will post 2007 metal output of about 125 million lbs. copper and 60,000 oz. gold. The company recently added a molybdenum circuit to the operation to recover the metal but does not report its specific production.
As of early 2006, Robinson hosted proven and probable reserves of 145.5 million tonnes of 0.69% copper and 0.25 gram gold per tonne; sufficient for about 10 years of operation at current mining rates.
The company purchased the mine from BHP Billiton (BHP-N) in 2004 for $14.2 million. BHP spent an estimated US$480 million in the mid-1990s to construct the mine that it operated from 1996 until it was placed on care-and-maintenance in 1999 due to low metal prices.
Quadra is also proceeding with development of its Carlota copper project in central Arizona. Acquired for US$37.5 million in late-2005 from Cambior, now part of Iamgold (IMG-T, IAG-N), the deposit hosts reserves of about 80 million tonnes grading 0.45% copper and is expected to produce an average of 75 million lbs. of copper annually over an 11 year mine life.
Trading in Quadra shares rallied over 5% on the Q4 production report to close up 44 at $8.74 apiece. The company posts a $333-million market capitalization based on its 38.1-million shares outstanding and has a 52-week trading range of $5.40-to-$13.35.