Teck’s zinc production up; copper, coal miss guidance for 2022

The Antamina mine in Peru is one of the largest copper/zinc operations in the world. (Image courtesy of Teck Resources).

Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A, TECK.B; NYSE: TECK) reported its full-year 2022 production numbers, which show that zinc in concentrate beat guidance with 97,400 tonnes from the Antamina mine (in which Teck has a 22.5% stake) in Peru. The Red Dog mine in Alaska performed as expected at 553,100 tonnes of zinc, about in the middle of guidance.

Total refined zinc output was 248,900 tonnes, below the lower guidance number of 257,000 tonnes. Production was curtailed by an extended period of maintenance on the Kivcet boiler at the Trail, British Columbia, metallurgical complex and by extreme cold weather in December.

Numbers for copper were again bolstered by Antamina that produced Teck’s share of 102,300 tonnes of copper in concentrate, which was above guidance. None of the other copper producers made their guidance.

Highland Valley Copper in British Columbia produced 119,000 tonnes due to a temporary pit closure due to what Teck called a “localized geotechnical event” in the Valley pit and extreme weather.

The Quebrada Blanca copper mine in Chile (9,600 tonnes) missed its guidance, as did the Carmen de Andacollo mine (39,500 tonnes). Production at the latter was reduced by unplanned downtime.

Output of steelmaking coal was 21.5 million tonnes, slightly short of the lower guidance number of 22 million tonnes. This reflected a plant feed conveyor failure, plant availability challenges, ongoing labour constraints, and (again) December’s extreme weather.

Looking ahead, Teck has released guidance numbers for 2023. Zinc production will be between 555,000 and 645,000 tonnes in concentrate and 280,000 to 310,000 tonnes of refined metal. Copper will be between 545,000 and 640,000 tonnes. Coal production will be between 24 million and 25 million tonnes.

Teck also provided guidance for its principal products through 2026, as well as actual and guidance numbers for lead and molybdenum.