Thompson Creek Metals Co. produced 28.3 million lb of molybdenum in 2011 and sold 31.8 million lb of molybdenum at an average sales price of $16.28/lb, up from $15.67/lb in 2010. The company met its 2011 goals, despite lower production and higher costs in the second half of 2011, primarily due to the planned pit sequencing, increased waste stripping activities, and lower-grade ore and mill recovery at its Thompson Creek mine.
Although operating results for the Thompson Creek mine were much lower in the second half of the year, total annual production from the mine was 21.4 million lb of moly with average cash costs for the year of $6.66/lb. Production has moved into a new phase of higher-grade ore and the Thompson Creek mine is now on track to produce 16 to 17 million lb of moly in 2012.
Thompson Creek made significant progress in advancing its growth projects throughout 2011, according to the company. Construction of the Endako mill expansion project was near completion by year end, a staged start-up of the mill began in early January, and commercial production was reached February 1, 2012. Production will continue to ramp up through the first quarter, with full production anticipated in the second quarter of 2012. The Endako mine is expected to produce 10 to 11 million lb of moly.
Construction and development of the Mt. Milligan copper-gold mine remained on schedule in 2011, with commissioning and start-up expected to commence in the third quarter 2013 and commercial production of copper and gold in the fourth quarter of 2013. “Once operational, the Mt. Milligan mine is expected to produce approximately 81 million lb of copper in concentrate and 194,000 oz of gold in concentrate per year,” said Kevin Loughrey, chairman and CEO, Thompson Creek. “We are encouraged by the recent upturn in the moly price over the past several weeks and continue to expect a sustained recovery in molybdenum demand and prices in the medium-term as the world economy recovers.”