Atlas sees lower Q1 loss of P135M

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Listed firm Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. on Tuesday reported a sizably lower net loss for the first quarter of the year on the back of higher production and shipment volume.

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In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Atlas said it was able to narrow losses by 79 percent to P135 million in January-March 2016, from P637 million during the same period a year ago.

Higher shipment volumes of copper concentrates resulted in a 27 percent increase in revenue at P3.4 billion despite the persistently lower realized metal prices in the world market.

During the period, copper prices remained low due to lingering concerns about China. This brought the quarter’s average realized copper price to $2.10/lb., 19 percent lower than $2.60/lb. average in 2015.

Meanwhile, average realized gold price was relatively flat at $1,198/oz. as compared with $1,214/oz. the previous year.

Copper concentrate shipments surged by 38 percent to 52,900 dry metric tons (dmt) during the quarter. Likewise, copper metal content jumped by 38 percent to 31 million pounds of copper metal in concentrate, while gold content spiked 69 percent to 9,708 ounces.

Atlas said that the increase in shipment volume was driven by higher production.

“The sustained maintenance and process efficiency improvements continue to show benefits at Atlas Mining’s wholly-owned subsidiary Carmen Copper Corp.,” the company said.

For the first three months, copper metal in concentrate expanded by 7.6 million pounds to 29.9 million pounds underpinned by increased milling tonnage, relatively higher head grade and record high copper recovery.

Owing to enhanced milling equipment availability, milling tonnage improved by 20 percent to 5.0 million tons with average daily throughput of 54,745 tons per day (tpd) during the quarter, 19 percent higher than 45,960 tpd average for the comparable period last year.

For the first quarter, average cash cost per pound of copper continued its decline, dropping by 39 percent to US$1.32/lb. from US$2.18/lb. for the same period last year.

Lower waste to ore ratio in the first quarter also contributed to the reduction in cash cost as more work was done on development waste stripping than on production waste stripping.

Reductions were also registered in cost to concentrate driven by power, materials and spares, labor and fuel. Atlas Mining remains focused on cost and operational efficiencies as key strategic objectives.

Amid challenging market conditions, Atlas Mining recently announced its plan to streamline operations to optimize its cash flows while protecting its large mineral resources for the longer term.

The recovery plan will involve scaling back production levels to 40,000 tons per day and reduction of stripping capex and all operating costs through cost containment initiatives and increased production efficiencies.

The company also said that it is well on-track with the plan and continues to work on further improving operations to position Atlas in time for a recovery in copper prices.

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