Capstone returns to profitability

Capstone Mining Corp. made a dramatic move into the black last year, earning a US$72.6 million profit compared to a loss of $18.3 million in 2009. Revenues grew from $250 million in 2009 to $310 million last year.

The Vancouver-based company had US$192.4 million in the bank at the end of the year, up from $118.4 million the year previously. While Capstone sold less copper last year compared to 2009, 73 versus 85 million pounds, Capstone says it has increased reserves and resources at its Cozamin mine in Mexico and the Minto mine in the Yukon Territory, Canada.

President and CEO Darren Pylot said new discoveries were made at both projects and noted a third project, Kutcho, is moving towards a production decision in 2011. That mine, located in British Columbia, Canada, has a preliminary economic assessment indicating a 12-year mine life with an IRR of 27%,  NPV of C$155 million at a 10% discount rate and a 3.4 year payback after tax.  A technical report is expected to be filed  by the end of March.

Copper production is expected to move from 80 to 85 million pounds in 2011. The company says it will focus on keeping production steady at the Cozamin mine and begin underground mining and a second open pit at Minto, located 250 kilometres north of Whitehorse.