Production by Boliden Mines remained high throughout both the fourth quarter of 2014 and the year as a whole, but with lower grades in several of the mines. The Aitik copper mine produced 39 million metric tons (mt) of ore during the year and the milled tonnage volume of the expanded Garpenberg zinc mine totaled 2.2 million mt, of which the mine’s production accounted for 1.9 million mt. The newly acquired Finnish copper mine, Kylylahti, also helped increase volumes. Production at the Tara zinc mine was negatively affected by the ongoing reorganization.
Boliden President and CEO Lennart Evrell said, “2014 started weakly, gradually improved and ended with a strong fourth quarter. The quarter was characterized by high production levels at the group’s mines and smelters and by positive exchange rate effects, which compensated for lower metal prices. Taking the year as a whole, several of the units achieved record production levels, our action programs had the desired outcome, and profits were given a healthy boost, toward the end of the year, by exchange rate trends. The ramping up of the Garpenberg expansion proceeded according to plan, but the ramping up of Kokkola’s silver extraction facility fell behind schedule.”
Boliden’s smelters enjoyed a strong quarter, with higher volumes, a stronger U.S. dollar, and a increased percentage of free metals. For the full year, a stronger U.S. dollar and better TC/RC helped ensure a significant improvement in profits. Production was strong, with record levels at the Harjavalta copper smelter and Odda zinc smelter, and the action program at the Rönnskär copper smelter resulted in an year-on-year improvement in the operating profit of approximately SEK 150 million.
“We have seen an increasingly volatile market since 2015 began, with the majority of metal prices falling due to a slowdown in the rate of global growth, coupled with a relatively high output by the mines, particularly when it comes to copper.” said Evrell. “Sweden, in common with many other mining nations, has also experienced a simultaneous weakening of its currency that has ameliorated the effects of the falling prices.”