Amerigo Resources (TSX: ARG), owner of the Minera Valle Central (MVC) operation in Chile, has exceeded its copper production guidance for the year ended December 31, 2021.
The MVC operation located near Rancagua has been producing copper concentrates since 1992 by processing fresh and historic tailings from Codelco’s El Teniente, the world’s largest underground copper mine.
In 2021, MVC produced a total of 63.4 mlb of copper at a cash cost of $1.75 per/lb, and 1.3 mlb of molybdenum as byproduct. The annual copper production was 4% over guidance, due to higher fresh tailings tonnage and grade.
During the year, MVC completed a series of plant modifications to take advantage of the higher throughput of fresh tailings coming from El Teniente, the company said.
Production from fresh tailings increased from 45% of copper production in Q1 2021 to 55% of copper production in Q4 2021. To the extent that a higher percentage of production comes from fresh tailings, historical tailings are depleted at a lower rate.
Amerigo’s 2021 cash cost of $1.75/lb was 2% lower than its cash cost guidance of $1.79/lb, mostly due to higher than projected production.
Annual molybdenum production was 11% below guidance, driven by the lower molybdenum content found in fresh tailings.
Based on MVC’s mine plan for 2022, Amerigo has set this year’s production guidance at 61.9 mlb of copper and 1.2mlb of molybdenum. Cash cost is expected to be $1.90/lb, driven by higher market-driven treatment and refinery charges ($0.06/lb).
Shares in Amerigo jumped 3.7% by 12:25 p.m. EDT, having hit a 52-week high of C$1.66 earlier. The copper producer has a market capitalization of C$300.5 million ($239m).