Production by Boliden Mines increased in both the fourth quarter and the full year. The most significant progress during the year came from the ramping up of the Garpenberg zinc and silver mine, which achieved its capacity goal of 2.5 million metric tons per year (mt/y). Unfavorable ore quality and low crusher availability reduced the milled throughput at the Aitik copper mine to 36 million mt for the full year. An action program at the Tara zinc mine increased milled volumes during the fourth quarter, but production for the year as a whole was, however, from ongoing changes at the mine.
“Boliden has posted a strong result for 2015 in the face of difficult market conditions, demonstrating that competitive mines and smelters that produce both base and precious metals are of real benefit in times of volatile prices,” said Lennart Evrell, president and CEO, Boliden. “High production levels, favorable exchange rates, and lower investments helped ensure a strong cash flow and robust balance sheet. Metal prices fell steeply in the fourth quarter, and it was not possible to compensate for this downturn.”
Boliden Smelters also posted a strong result for the year, thanks to favorable market conditions and stable processes. Smelters also continued to post healthy profits in the fourth quarter, despite a slight quarter-on-quarter deterioration in market terms. The Harjavalta copper and nickel smelter, which more than doubled its profits in 2015, enjoyed stable processes with high feed levels, and the new business model for nickel performed well. The action program at the Rönnskär copper smelter yielded a positive impact profitability and the expansion project that will see Odda’s production levels increase to 200,000 mt/y of zinc is proceeding according to plan.
“There is still considerable uncertainty regarding the economic outlook,” Evrell said. “Industrial growth levels were low in 2015 and the capacity of the world’s copper mines increased. This has meant falling metal prices for both Boliden and the sector as a whole, and we will continue to focus heavily on costs in order to maintain our competitiveness and profitability.”