Imperial Metals (TSX: III) racked up further losses during the second quarter of 2022, recording an adjusted net loss of $29.3 million compared with $5.1 million for the 2021 comparative quarter. This was despite a slight revenue increase of $2.2 million from the second quarter 2021.
Contributors to the higher net loss include a $1.4 million decline in mine operations income, over $30 million of spending on the Mount Polley mine restart, a $4.6 million rise in idle mine costs, and an additional $3.5 million in tax recovery. Capital expenditures including leases also rose to $39.6 million in the June 2022 quarter, up from $23.8 million in the 2021 comparative quarter.
Imperial’s mining operations, specifically the Red Chris mine that is 70% owned by Newcrest Mining, helped to lift up the company’s revenue in the second quarter 2022. Metal production from the northwest B.C. mine totalled 22 million lb. of copper and 19,540 oz. of gold, which respectively were 25.2% and 26.5% higher than the 2021 quarter.
Exploration drilling at Red Chris remains underway, with up to eight drills in operation during the second quarter, focusing on expanding the East Ridge zone and gathering geotechnical information for infrastructure related to the development of a block cave. The exploration decline had advanced 1,717 metres as of July 20, 2022. Work on the block cave feasibility study is ongoing and is targeted to be released in the first half of 2023.
At Mount Polley, Imperial first began the required work to reopen the copper-gold mine during the fourth quarter of 2021. Initial mill commissioning and operations began on June 25, 2022. Commissioning work continues into the third quarter, with six of the eight mills in the grinding circuit now in operation. During the second quarter, 62,775 tonnes were milled and 6.3 million tonnes were mined, achieving a day rate of 69,013 t/d. By the end of the second quarter, approximately 1.3 million tonnes had been stockpiled for future milling.
The restart of the facilities took approximately three months longer than planned due to difficulties in hiring operating personnel, certain supply chain challenges and unanticipated electrical and mechanical work that needed to be completed in order to get the plant operating. Also, the failure of a key electrical component two weeks after the restart of mill operations caused a 10-day delay in the ramp up of mill operations. As a result, Imperial has sought additional funding for the Mount Polley restart budget.
Additional information about the Mount Polley mine restart is posted on www.ImperialMetals.com.