Boliden’s first quarter 2018 was characterized by high grades and few accidents. “Production was high despite some disturbances,” said Boliden President and CEO Lennart Evrell. “Together with favorable metal prices, it provided another quarter of operating profit of close to SEK 3 billion ($337 million). After extensive work for increased safety, the accident rate has decreased and was the lowest ever in the quarter.

“The new Aitik crusher is under way, which affected the ore volume but was compensated by high grades. Also, Tara had high grades in the quarter. Worsened market terms had a negative impact on earnings within the smelters.”

Strong production and a favorable market led to a year-on-year improvement in profit for Sweden’s largest mining company. Lower milled volumes at Aitik and Kevitsa, and lower-zinc grade at Garpenberg did, however, result in a decrease in profits from previous quarter’s levels. These lower volumes were offset by high grades at Aitik and Tara. New information obtained from drilling work in high-grade areas at Aitik resulted in the estimated copper grade for the remainder of 2018 being set at 0.26% in an upgrade on the previous estimated figure. Aitik’s new crusher will come on line during the second quarter.

A deterioration in market terms resulted in a decrease in the company’s smelters’ profit. The profit was also negatively impacted by SEK -50 m related to a fire at Bergsöe. Copper smelter production remained stable. Zinc production increased at Odda, while production at Kokkola was negatively affected by an “unfavorable” concentrate mix.