Inmet fourth-quarter profit slumps by a third

Canadian copper-zinc producer Inmet Mining earned a third less profit in the fourth quarter than the same period a year ago.

Toronto-based Inmet reported Q4 net income of CDN$48 million, or 69 cents a share, compared to $147 million, or $2.57 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The company said it took after-tax foreign exchange losses of $9 million during the quarter, versus a gain of $50 million in the same quarter of 2010 by disposing of a non-core investment.

Inmet, whose main asset is the Cobre Panama copper project, could earn US$155 million by selling a 20% stake in the $5 billion mine, which is expected to produce 255,000 tonnes of copper per annum along with gold, molybdenum and silver byproducts. Inmet currently owns 80% of the project, with the other 20% owned by Korea Panama Mining Corp. (KPMC).

The Panamanian government approved in January the environmental and social impact assessment for Cobre Panama.

Granted by the environmental authority of the country, the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM), the approval of the environmental and social impact assessment includes the mine, mill, surface infrastructure, a port facility and a coal-fired power plant.

Inmet stock was up 94 cents to $69.78 on Thursday in Toronto.