Lundin Mining Corporation
TSX : LUN
OMX : LUMI

Lundin Mining Corporation

February 18, 2015 17:41 ET

Lundin Mining Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 18, 2015) - Lundin Mining Corporation (TSX:LUN)(OMX:LUMI) ("Lundin Mining" or the "Company") today reported net earnings attributable to Lundin Mining shareholders of $25.8 million ($0.04 per share) for the quarter and $112.6 million ($0.19 per share) for the year ended December 31, 2014. Cash flows of $68.4 million were generated from operations in the quarter and $187.4 million for the year, not including the Company's attributable cash flows from Tenke Fungurume.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter included a non-cash, after-tax impairment charge of $32.3 million ($0.05 per share) related to certain Portuguese regional exploration concessions. The impairment was recognized to reflect the cessation of greenfield exploration programs in Portugal and relinquishment of certain mineral concessions. In addition, the fourth quarter included Candelaria operating earnings from November 3, 2014 of $67.8 million. Going forward Candelaria is expected to contribute significantly to the Company's earnings and cash flows.

Paul Conibear, President and CEO commented, "2014 was a very important year for Lundin Mining, as the Company successfully executed on its strategy to rejuvenate its asset base. Many milestones were achieved throughout the year including: bringing the Eagle nickel mine into full scale production ahead of schedule and under budget; successfully acquiring the high quality Candelaria copper operations in Chile; and recording zinc production records at our European operations."

"Our focus for 2015 is to successfully optimize all our existing operations to deliver improved production, cash flow and earnings as the year progresses and the advancement of significant brownfield exploration programs at each of our operations," added Mr. Conibear.

Summary financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2014:
Three months ended Twelve months ended
December 31 December 31
US$ Millions (except per share amounts) 2014 2013 2014 2013
Sales 443.0 186.9 951.3 727.8
Operating earnings1 144.1 66.9 304.3 243.1
Net earnings 36.6 42.1 123.4 136.7
Net earnings attributable to Lundin shareholders 25.8 42.1 112.6 136.7
Basic earnings per share 0.04 0.07 0.19 0.23
Cash flow from operations 68.4 55.2 187.4 154.3
Ending net debt position2 (829.2 ) (119.3 ) (829.2 ) (119.3 )
1 Operating earnings is a non-GAAP measure defined as sales, less operating costs (excluding depreciation) and general and administrative costs.
2 Net debt is a non-GAAP measure defined as cash and cash equivalents, less long-term debt and finance leases, before deferred financing fees

Highlights

Operational Performance

For 2014, all of the Company's operations substantially met or performed better than guided on production. Aggregate capital spending was below guidance.

Candelaria (80%): On November 3, 2014, the Company announced the closing of its acquisition of an 80% ownership stake in the Candelaria/Ojos del Salado copper mining operations and supporting infrastructure (together, "Candelaria") from Freeport-McMoRan Inc. ("Freeport"). For the period from November 3, 2014 to December 31, 2014, the Candelaria processing plants collectively produced, on a 100% basis, 28,590 tonnes of copper, 318,000 ounces of silver, and 16,200 ounces of gold in concentrate.

Eagle (100%): Eagle production ramped-up sooner than expected and production of both nickel (4,300 tonnes) and copper (3,905 tonnes) exceeded expectations for the year. Commercial production was achieved in November 2014 and Eagle finished the year with higher than expected throughput, grades and recoveries. By year end, both copper and nickel concentrate quality were respectively at, and above, steady state product specifications. Total project spend for 2014 was $280 million, including capitalized interest, below guidance of $300 million due to under budget performance and timing of payments.

Neves-Corvo (100%): Neves-Corvo produced 51,369 tonnes of copper and 67,378 tonnes of zinc for the year ended December 31, 2014. Production from the Lombador ore body helped contribute to a 26% increase in zinc production over the prior year, and an annual zinc production record. Copper production met guidance, but lower copper head grades, metallurgical recoveries and ore throughput resulted in lower copper production compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. Copper cash costs1 of $1.85/lb for the year were in-line with our latest full-year guidance ($1.85/lb).

1 Cash cost/lb of copper, zinc and nickel are non-GAAP measures defined as all cash costs directly attributable to mining operating, less royalties and by-product credits.

Zinkgruvan (100%): Zinc production of 77,713 tonnes at Zinkgruvan met expectations and was higher than the year ended December 31, 2013 due primarily to record tonnages of ore mined and milled. Lead production of 32,363 tonnes slightly exceeded expectations and was in-line with 2013. Cash costs for zinc of $0.37/lb were largely in-line with guidance ($0.35/lb).

Aguablanca (100%): Aguablanca had a strong year of operational performance, with annual production of 8,631 tonnes of nickel and 7,390 tonnes of copper. Both metals exceeded production expectations for the year ended December 31, 2014 as well as the prior year. Cash costs of $4.38/lb of nickel for the year were slightly higher than full year guidance ($4.25/lb) due to the lower price of by-product credits.

Tenke and Freeport Cobalt (24%): Tenke operations continue to perform well and the Kokkola cobalt business performed in accordance with expectations.

  • Lundin's attributable share of annual Tenke production included 48,636 tonnes of copper cathode and 3,200 tonnes of cobalt in hydroxide. The Company's attributable share of Tenke's sales included 46,306 tonnes of copper at an average realized price of $3.06/lb and 3,214 tonnes of cobalt at an average realized price of $9.66/lb.

  • Attributable operating cash flow from Tenke for the year ended December 31, 2014 was $158.5 million. Cash distributions received by Lundin Mining in the year were $85.8 million from Tenke and $8.6 million from Freeport Cobalt for aggregate cash distributions to the Company of $94.4 million.

  • Tenke cash costs for the year ended December 31, 2014 were $1.15/lb of copper sold, better than the latest 2014 full-year guidance of $1.16/lb.

Financial Performance

  • Operating earnings for the year ended December 31, 2014 were $304.3 million, an increase of $61.2 million from the $243.1 million reported in 2013. The increase was due to the inclusion of Candelaria's results from November 3, 2014 ($67.8 million), start of commercial production at Eagle in the fourth quarter of 2014 ($28.5 million) and the impact of higher net metal prices in 2014 ($11.5 million), partially offset by the closure of our Galmoy operations in 2013 ($11.2 million), lower sales volumes, primarily copper, at our other operating sites ($24.2 million) and higher treatment and refining charges ($17.1 million).

  • For the year ended December 31, 2014, sales of $951.3 million increased $223.5 million from the prior year ($727.8 million). The increase is due to incremental sales from Candelaria and Eagle of $215.2 million and $47.3 million, respectively, partially offset by the impact from the closure of Galmoy ($18.3 million) and higher treatment and refining costs ($17.1 million).

  • Average London Metal Exchange ("LME") metal prices for nickel and zinc for the year ended December 31, 2014 were higher (12% - 13%) than that of the prior year, while lead and copper prices were lower (2% - 6%) in 2014.

  • Operating costs (excluding depreciation) of $619.7 million in the current year were $158.5 million higher than the $461.2 million in the prior year. Excluding the incremental impact on operating costs from Candelaria of $147.4 million, operating costs of $472.3 million for the year were $11.1 million higher than prior year operating costs. The increase was primarily attributable to the incremental operating costs from Eagle ($18.8 million) partly offset by the closure of our Galmoy operations ($7.2 million).

  • Net earnings of $123.4 million ($0.19 per share) in the current year were $13.3 million lower than the $136.7 million ($0.23 per share) reported in 2013.

    Excluding the after-tax impairment of $32.3 million related to the Company's Portuguese exploration concessions, net earnings in 2014 were $19.0 million higher than 2013. The increase is attributable to earnings generated by Candelaria and Eagle.
  • Cash flow from operations for the year was $187.4 million compared to $154.3 million for 2013. The comparative increase in cash flow of $33.1 million is mostly attributable to higher operating earnings ($61.2 million), partially offset by changes in non-cash working capital and long-term inventory of $18.9 million. In addition, the Company benefited from the receipt of insurance proceeds in both 2013 and 2014 for business interruption at the Aguablanca mine from an open pit ramp failure which occurred in late-2010; however, amounts received in 2013 were $11.4 million more than that received in 2014 (2013 - $15.1 million; 2014 - $3.7 million).


Corporate Highlights

  • On November 3, 2014, the Company announced the closing of its acquisition of an 80% ownership stake in the Candelaria/Ojos del Salado copper mining operations and supporting infrastructure from Freeport. Total cash consideration of $1,852 million was paid, consisting of a $1,800 million base purchase price plus $52 million for cash and non-cash working capital and other agreed adjustments. In addition, contingent consideration of up to $200 million will also be payable, calculated as 5% of net copper revenue in any annual period over the next five years, if the realized average copper price exceeds $4.00 per pound.

    The acquisition was funded by $1,000 million in senior secured note financing, C$674 million ($601.5 million) in subscription receipt equity financing and an upfront payment of $648 million under a stream agreement with a subsidiary of Franco-Nevada Corporation. The Company also repaid its $250 million term loan with the proceeds from the financings and executed an amendment to its $350 million revolving credit facility which remains in place under pre-existing terms. The remaining 20% ownership stake continues to be held by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd and Sumitomo Corporation (collectively "Sumitomo").
  • On November 24, 2014, the Company announced the achievement of commercial production at its Eagle Mine. The milestone was reached within two months of start-up and well before the target of the first quarter of 2015.

Financial Position and Financing

  • Net debt position at December 31, 2014 was $829.2 million compared to $119.3 million at December 31, 2013. Net debt as of February 17, 2015 was approximately $710.0 million.

  • The $709.9 million increase in net debt during the year was attributable to:

    • additional net debt acquired in connection with the acquisition of the Candelaria Mining Complex of approximately $833.5 million (which represents $1,000 million of senior secured notes, less cash acquired of $104.4 million and excess cash raised for general corporate purposes of $62.1 million);
    • investments in mineral properties, plant and equipment of $414.0 million, $272.2 million of which was related to the completion of the construction of the Eagle mine; offset by
    • operating cash flows of $187.4 million;
    • repayment of a term loan of $250.0 million; and
    • distributions received from Tenke and Freeport Cobalt of $85.8 million and $8.6 million, respectively.
  • The Company has a revolving debt facility available for borrowing up to $350 million. As at December 31, 2014, the Company had no amount drawn on the credit facility, only a letter of credit in the amount of $10.2 million (SEK 80 million).

Outlook

Market Conditions

Metal prices have declined significantly from our expected base case values set in December 2014. Consequently, the Company has performed an analysis to determine the impact on the 2015 plan and we are progressing immediately with initiatives to protect earnings and cash flows in the event the current price environment continues for a prolonged period or weakens further. The Company is advancing production optimizations, cost savings and cost deferrals that are expected to protect cash flows and profits in 2015. These are reflected in the updated capital expenditure and exploration investment guidance below. To the extent that base metals markets improve, spending restraint plans will be re-assessed as certain expenditures and deferrals would be reconsidered in a moderately stronger metal price environment.

2015 Production and Cost Guidance

  • Production and cash costs guidance was provided on December 4, 2014 (see news release entitled "Lundin Mining Provides Operating Outlook for 2015-2017").
  • Guidance on Tenke's copper production and cash costs have been updated to reflect the most recent guidance provided by Freeport.
  • The Company has identified possible savings in operating costs and is assessing the impact on cash costs. Updated guidance taking into account revised metal prices, currency exchange rates and other input cost assumptions will be issued with results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015.
  • As per our December 2014 disclosure, current production and cash cost guidance for 2015 is:
(contained tonnes) Tonnes Cash Costsa
Copper Candelaria (80%) 130,000 - 135,000 $1.55/lbc
Eagle 20,000 - 23,000
Neves-Corvo 50,000 - 55,000 $1.80/lb
Zinkgruvan 3,500 - 4,000
Aguablanca 4,500 - 5,000
Tenke (24%)b 48,400 $1.31/lb
Total attributable 256,400 - 270,400
Zinc Neves-Corvo 68,000 - 73,000
Zinkgruvan 78,000 - 82,000 $0.38/lb
Total 146,000 - 155,000
Nickel Aguablanca 5,800 - 6,500 $5.00/lb
Eagle 25,000 - 28,000 $2.00/lb
Total 30,800 - 34,500
Lead Neves-Corvo 4,000 - 5,000
Zinkgruvan 27,000 - 30,000
Total 31,000 - 35,000
a Cash costs remain dependent upon exchange rates (forecast at EUR/USD:1.30, USD/SEK:7.00, USD/CLP:575) and metal prices (forecast at Cu: $3.00/lb, Zn: $1.05/lb, Pb: $1.00/lb, Ni: $8.00/lb, Co: $13.00/lb).
b Freeport has provided 2015 sales and cash costs guidance. Tenke's 2015 production is assumed to approximate sales guidance.
c Cash costs exclude capital expenditures for deferred stripping and by-product credits have been adjusted for the terms of the streaming agreement but exclude any allocation of upfront cash received.

Commentary on 2015 Production Guidance by Mine

  • Candelaria: Attributable share of Candelaria production is expected to be more than double our current copper production levels. A five year mine plan optimization is underway with results expected in the second half of the year.

  • Eagle: Full production rates of 2,000 tonnes/day mill feed are expected to be achieved in the first quarter of 2015.

  • Neves-Corvo: Copper production is expected to be maintained above 50,000 tonnes per annum with a significant zinc by-product credit. Overall average mill feed copper grade and recovery have been reassessed for this year's guidance to reflect 2014 performance and the ongoing effects of out of reserve material. Zinc production assumes plant capacity continues at current levels of 1.16 million tonnes per annum throughput with no additional debottlenecking or zinc expansion investments. Lead by-product increases as greater percentages of Lombador zinc ore is mined.

  • Zinkgruvan: Zinc production is expected to be between 78,000 - 82,000 tonnes of zinc per annum consistent with recent years. Lead production varies with head grade according to mine plan.

  • Aguablanca: Open pit mining has been extended into Q1 2015. Production from underground mining will ramp up in the second quarter of 2015 and continue until at least 2018. Production in the first half of 2015 will be predominantly drawn from a 500,000 tonne stockpile accumulated in the last few months of open pit mining, with increasing contribution from underground mining as production volumes increase as the year progresses. Production is expected to dip in the second and third quarter of 2015 as the stockpile is consumed and underground mining ramps up.

  • Tenke: Freeport expects modest increases in sales in 2015 over 2014, with sales of copper cathode forecast at approximately 201,800 tonnes and cobalt sales of 14,500 tonnes.

2015 Capital Expenditure Guidance

The Company has initiated action plans to respond to the lower metal price environment. As a result, capital expenditures are expected to be less than the $470 million previously guided. The Company has identified $70 million of savings opportunities that can be achieved in 2015 through cancellation or deferral of certain capital expenditures.

Revised Capital Expenditure Guidance
($ millions) Original Guidance Reductions Revised Guidance
by Mine
Candelaria $ 300 $ 55 $ 245
Eagle 15 - 15
Neves-Corvo 95 10 85
Zinkgruvan 45 5 40
Aguablanca 15 - 15
$ 470 $ 70 $ 400
  • New investment in Tenke - $90 million (2014: $47 million), estimated by the Company as its share of expansion related initiatives, such as a second acid plant, and sustaining capital funding for 2015. All of the Tenke capital expenditures and exploration programs are expected to be self-funded by cash flow from Tenke operations.

    Assuming forecast metal prices and operating conditions are met, the Company now believes it is reasonable to expect Lundin Mining's attributable cash distributions from Tenke to be in the range of $30 to $40 million in 2015, taking into account self-funding of the new acid plant project, and other expenditures such as exploration, small projects and routine sustaining capital. The Tenke cash distribution guidance will be reviewed by Lundin Mining quarterly with respect to market price conditions. Final decisions on capital investments and the amounts and timing of any cash distributions for 2015 are ultimately made by Freeport, the mine's operator.

Exploration Investment

  • The Company has reviewed its exploration spending in response to current market conditions and has planned to cancel or defer $15 million of expenditures from an original budget of $75 million. Total exploration expenses for 2015 (excluding Tenke) are now expected to be in the range of $60 million (2014: $36 million). Approximately $35 million is expected to be directed toward near mine targets at Candelaria, with the remainder being invested to advance exploration activities at our existing mines and for existing South American and Eastern European exploration projects.

About Lundin Mining

Lundin Mining Corporation ("Lundin", "Lundin Mining" or the "Company") is a diversified Canadian base metals mining company with operations in Chile, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, and the USA, producing copper, zinc, lead and nickel. In addition, Lundin Mining holds a 24% equity stake in the world-class Tenke Fungurume ("Tenke") copper/cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC") and in the Freeport Cobalt Oy business, which includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland.

On Behalf of the Board,

Paul Conibear, President and CEO

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information

Certain of the statements made and information contained herein is "forward-looking information" within the meaning of the Ontario Securities Act. This report includes, but is not limited to, forward looking statements with respect to the Company's estimated annual metal production, cash costs, exploration expenditures, and capital expenditures, as noted in the Outlook section and elsewhere in this document. These estimates and other forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual events or results to differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to estimated operating and cash costs, foreign currency fluctuations; risks inherent in mining including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected geological formations, ground control problems and flooding; including risks associated with the estimation of mineral resources and reserves and the geology, grade and continuity of mineral deposits; the possibility that future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with the Company's expectations; the potential for and effects of labour disputes or other unanticipated difficulties with or shortages of labour or interruptions in production; actual ore mined varying from estimates of grade, tonnage, dilution and metallurgical and other characteristics; the inherent uncertainty of production and cost estimates and the potential for unexpected costs and expenses, commodity price fluctuations; inability to successfully integrate the Candelaria operations or realize its anticipated benefits; uncertain political and economic environments; changes in laws or policies, foreign taxation, delays or the inability to obtain necessary governmental permits; and other risks and uncertainties, including those described under Risk Factors Relating to the Company's Business in the Company's Annual Information Form. Forward-looking information is in addition based on various assumptions including, without limitation, the expectations and beliefs of management, the assumed long term price of copper, nickel, lead and zinc; that the Company can access financing, appropriate equipment and sufficient labour and that the political environment where the Company operates will continue to support the development and operation of mining projects. Should one or more of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward-looking statements. Accordingly, readers are advised not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Contact Information

  • Sophia Shane
    Investor Relations North America
    +1-604-689-7842

    John Miniotis
    Senior Manager, Corporate Development and Investor Relations
    +1-416-342-5565

    Robert Eriksson
    Investor Relations Sweden
    +46 8 545 015 50