Teck hits record copper production on Quebrada Blanca ramp-up

Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A, TECK.B; NYSE: TECK), Canada’s largest diversified…

Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A, TECK.B; NYSE: TECK), Canada’s largest diversified miner, beat profit estimates for the fourth quarter of 2023 on the back of higher steelmaking coal sales, record copper production and strong prices for the orange metal.

The Vancouver-based miner said its realized copper prices increased by 2%. Production of the metal surged 58% to 103,000 tonnes in the last three months of 2023 from 65,000 tonnes a year earlier, as it ramped up operations at its Quebrada Blanca mine in Chile.

The company also reported higher production at its Highland Valley Copper mines in Canada and at Antamina, in Peru, which is set for a US$2 billion expansion.

Total copper output for the fourth quarter of 2023 reached 296,000 tonnes, compared to 270,000 in the same period of 2022. 

Zinc in concentrate production amounted to 182,000 tonnes, up from 143,000 a year earlier, while refined zinc production totalled 70,000 tonnes, up from 46,000.

“We had strong fourth quarter performance across our business, generating adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of US$1.7 billion in the quarter, returning cash to shareholders and advancing ramp-up of our Quebrada Blanca operations, resulting in Teck’s record quarterly copper production,” president and chief executive Jonathan Price said in a statement

He added that Teck is well positioned to deliver on its strategic priorities in 2024, which involves securing growth in its copper portfolio with the addition of its British Columbia HVC mine life extension project and kicking off the permitting process for San Nicolas in Mexico. 

The company left copper guidance for the year unchanged at 465,000 to 540,000 tonnes of copper and 565,000 to 630,000 tonnes of zinc.

In parallel, Teck said is executing the planned separation of its base metals and steelmaking coal businesses, following the sale of its coal unit to Glencore (LON: GLEN).

The Swiss mining and commodities trader spent much of 2023 in an open battle with Teck after the Canadian miner rejected its unsolicited $23 billion offer. The bid, while unsuccessful, open the door for Glencore’s acquisition of Teck’s steelmaking coal business, which it plans to merge with its own coal assets and create a new coal-focused company.


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