Minsur has released its Individual Q1 results for its Peruvian operations which reveal that refined tin production fell 18% year-on-year to 3,580 tonnes during the first quarter as a result of scheduled maintenance at the Pisco tin smelter in January.
The maintenance at the smelter took place over a 23 day period and also resulted in a 25% increase in production cash costs to $10,284 due to lower production levels. Production at the San Rafael mine also registered a 6% fall in production in Q1 compared to the first three months of 2016, mainly as a result of a fall in average treated ore grade to 1.65% from 2.09% between the same two periods. The volume of ore treated was 117% higher than in Q1 2016 at 491,266 tonnes due to retreatment of low-grade ore fed to the pre-concentrate plant totalling 279,036 tonnes. The low-grade ore stockpile is expected to be depleted by the end of 2017.
ITRI View: Despite the fall in production, Minsur remains on track to meet its official guidance of 16,500 to 17,500 tonnes of refined tin production for 2017. Production was unaffected by flooding affecting other Peruvian operations in Q1 and a recovery in output after maintenance is expected in Q2. While the long-term fall in tin grades and output from the San Rafael Mine remains a challenge for Minsur, the company has ramped up exploration and development projects, with a 48% increase in exploration and project expenses reported in Q1. These include several advanced exploration projects as well as the B2 tailings project.