Production slowdown and a fire in the silver refinery are a few factors Teck attributes to a fourth quarter (Q4) loss of $31 million at the Trail smelter.
“The main factor for Trail Operations results in Q4 2018 was the planned KIVCET Furnace shutdown resulting in lower production of lead, silver and other co-products,” Teck spokesperson Chris Stannell told the Trail Times.
“A maintenance shutdown of this extent typically occurs every four years,” he explained. “In addition, prices for our major metals including zinc were lower in the quarter.”
Fourth quarter silver production was hampered by an equipment fire in the refinery, Stannell added.
“Silver is currently being refined through other available equipment and repairs are expected to be complete by the end of the first quarter of 2019.”
In a Jan. 31 news release, the company projected its fourth-quarter profit would fall below what investors were expecting due to the low price Canadian oil and a decline in commodity prices as well as issues at Teck Trail.
Further, the company stated: “At our Trail Operations, we expect to record a fourth quarter loss of $23 million before depreciation and amortization and inventory write-downs, resulting in an after tax loss of $31 million or $0.05 per share. Trail continued to process low-grade lead concentrates in the fourth quarter due to ongoing interruptions of supply from some traditional third party suppliers, and production was impacted by a fire in the silver refinery and a maintenance shutdown of the KIVCET furnace that continued into the fourth quarter.”
In October, Teck reported a third quarter “profit attributable to shareholders of $1.3 billion.”
Closing the $1.2 billion Waneta Dam sale and receiving regulatory approval for the company’s Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project were two contributing factors, according to the Oct. 24 news release.
Teck owns a 90 per cent interest in the Quebrada Blanca mine, located in the Tarapacá Region of northern Chile. The mine is an open pit operation, which leaches the ore to produce copper cathodes.