Atalaya Mining (AYM.TO, LON:ATYM) has produced just over 10,200 tonnes of copper in the first quarter of this year despite a lower average grade of 0.46% copper. The total throughput of the mill in the first quarter was 2.4 million tonnes (which is lower than in Q4 2018 but higher than the comparable quarter last year) and as Atalaya was able to increase the recovery rate by almost 2%, the impact of the lower grade was mitigated.
As the strip ratio fell to 1.4:1 (versus in excess of 2 in Q1 2018), the average operating cost will be relatively low in the first quarter (as less waste had to be mined), but the strip ratio will very likely increase towards the end of the year as Atalaya continues to ramp up its mining rate to 15 million tonnes of ore per year.
Atalaya remains confident in its full-year guidance of 45,000-46,500 tonnes despite guiding for a lower average recovery rate of just 85-87%. The full-year mill throughput is expected to be 11.4 million tonnes as Atalaya is completing its expansion to 50,000-55,000 tonnes. This should enable Atalaya to boost its copper production to in excess of 150 million pounds per year.