Provides Revised Guidance For 2021 On Back Of COVID Influences
Sierra Metals Inc. (TSX: SMT) has reported revenue of US$79.4 million and an adjusted EBITDA of US$37.7 million on the throughput of 787,534 tonnes and metal production of 24.8 million copper equivalent pounds for the three-month period ended June 30, 2021. The company saw increased metals production of all individual metals except copper in Q2 2021.
At the Yauricocha Mine, the higher throughput was partially offset by lower head grades for all metals, resulting in a 7% higher copper equivalent production as compared to Q2 2020. In terms of zinc equivalents, this was a 29% increase over the same quarter of 2020.
Copper production for the quarter was 11% lower, while silver, lead, zinc and gold production increased by 35%, 22%, 54% and 23%, respectively, compared to Q2 2020.
Due to COVID-19 operating restrictions, the focus has been on larger, but low-grade ore bodies to meet tonnages with a reduced workforce. As a result, mining of certain high-grade, but smaller ore bodies have been delayed while the company continues to manage operations during the pandemic.
The Bolivar Mine processed 385,331 tonnes in Q2 2021, which is a 25% increase from the Q2 2020 throughput. The average daily throughput realized during the quarter was 4,404 tpd. Head grades for copper, silver, and gold were 8%, 27%, and 30% lower, respectively, compared to Q2 2020. Grades were negatively impacted by the inability to continue mining in the Bolivar West zone due to the COVID-19 residual delays in development and infrastructure.
Production continues to be focused more on the Mina de Fierro zone in Q2 2021. Mina de Fierro is a larger ore body with greater tonnages; however, the head grades and recoveries are lower than the Bolivar West zone. Copper equivalent production for Q2 2021 decreased 8% compared to Q2 2020 because of lower silver (6%) and gold (15%) production offset by 5% higher copper production.
The Cusi Mine throughput for Q2 2021 was 73,294 tonnes or 838 tpd. There was no production during the same quarter of 2020, as Cusi remained in care and maintenance throughout that quarter due to the government-mandated shutdown to contain the advancement of COVID-19.
The silver head grade for Q2 2021 was 138.94 g/t resulting in silver production of 269,000 ounces. Mined tonnage and grade were impacted by the problems related to underground water and high temperatures deemed unsafe to work in the planned mining zones. Additionally, gold production was 142 ounces, and lead production was 129,000 pounds respectively during the quarter.
Consolidated production of silver increased 67% to 1.0 million ounces, copper decreased 2% to 9.5 million pounds, lead increased 24% to 8.0 million pounds, zinc increased 54% to 21.1 million pounds, and gold increased 2% to 2,812 ounces compared to Q2 2020.
“Despite the challenges we faced in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in the second quarter, the company continues to see improvements in consolidated throughput, revenue, EBITDA and net income over the same period in 2020 and over the previous quarter in 2021,” CEO, Luis Marchese said.
“Our teams are using best practices to manage the impact of the pandemic. However, in reflecting the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on operations in the first half of 2021, we saw the need to revise our production, cost, and EBITDA guidance to align with the outlook for the year.
“While Peru and Mexico are making important improvements on their vaccination efforts, COVID-19 remains an ongoing challenge, adding to our cost base and challenging some of our processes. Overall, our goal continues to be to avoid any mine closures while ensuring that strict protocols remain in place to protect the wellbeing of our employees and the local communities.
“During the second quarter, we received the final permit required to expand the throughput at Yauricocha to 3,600 tonnes per day. Looking ahead to the remainder of 2021, we are also expanding and diversifying operations at Bolivar with the construction of a 500,000 tonne per year magnetite plant, expected to be fully operational early next year.
“Furthermore, we continue to work on the completion of a Preliminary Feasibility Study to evaluate a 53% throughput expansion at the Yauricocha Mine in Peru and a potential doubling of production at the Bolivar and Cusi Mines in Mexico.
“Finally, turning to exploration, we continue with our brownfield programs while reactivating our greenfield explorations programs, and we continue to work to improve operations and manage costs in this challenging environment.”
He concluded, “The Company continues to have a strong balance sheet and strong EBITDA to support the Company’s capital expenditures and growth initiatives at all mines, and we continue to work to improve per-share value for all shareholders. Based on our current budgeting process, and current strong metals price environment, this scenario could provide support for an attractive dividend policy.”
For further information please visit: https://www.sierrametals.com/