In its third-quarter 2020 earning report, Capstone said its copper production totaled 38.5 million pounds (lb) of copper, despite planned downtime at Pinto Valley to complete the majority of PV3 Optimization Phase 1 upgrades, at consolidated C1 cash costs of $1.82 per payable pound produced.
“We are two months away from the start of a high growth phase for the company, enhanced by innovation that will see us delivering 40% more production at 20% lower costs by 2023,” said Darren Pylot, president and CEO of Capstone. “I’m proud of the strong safety and operating results we delivered in Q3 2020, with Pinto Valley carrying out Phase 1 PV3 Optimization installations and Cozamin achieving the lowest quarterly unit costs it has ever realized in its history.”
“We are seeing a pickup of interest in Santo Domingo since we announced the [memorandum of understanding (MoU)] for rail and port facilities last month. With an increasingly positive outlook for copper, iron and cobalt, it is not surprising to see momentum like this for a fully permitted, large-scale project in a mining-friendly jurisdiction,” Pylot said.
Year-to-date consolidated production of 112.5 million lb and consolidated C1 cash cost of $1.91/lb is on track with the company’s full year guidance of 140-155 million lb, at C1 cash costs of $1.85/lb-$2/lb.
With improvements to copper markets during the quarter, full-year 2020 capital expenditures and exploration cost estimates have been returned to levels originally guided for 2020. Full-year capital and exploration costs are expected to be $90 million and $10 million, respectively, which positions the company for 20% production growth and 10% lower costs in 2021.
C1 cash costs of $0.36/lb produced at Cozamin is the mine’s lowest cost quarter in its operating history. During Q3 2020, the mine benefited from an optimized mine plan focused on higher copper grades (1.77%) and higher throughput (3,090 metric tons per day (mt/d)), resulting in higher production (10.6 million lb), higher byproduct credits on strong silver prices in addition to higher silver grades (46.5 g/mt) and recoveries (79%), as well as lower costs from reduced operating development meters.