Minto Metals Corp. [MNTO-TSXV] reported production results at its Minto mine, Yukon, for the 12-month period ended December 31, 2021, and it has made a purchase price deferral and provided its operational guidance for the calendar year 2022.
Minto completed 2021 with consolidated production totalling 26 million pounds of payable copper, a 46% increase versus the prior year. The full-year results were highlighted with a strong finish in November and December during which the company delivered an average of 3,000 tonnes per day of ore processed through the mill and 6.1 million pounds of payable copper.
Payable copper production was 26.0 million lbs in 2021 compared to 17.8 million lbs in 2020. Gold production was 11, 783 oz in 2021 compared to 7,674 oz in 2020. Silver production was 135,354 oz in 2021 compared to 67,490 oz in 2020.
Chris Stewart, president and CEO, said, “Our operation is showing positive momentum thanks to the efforts of our employees and contractors at our Minto mine located in the central Yukon. The 2021 copper production is up 46% compared to a year ago. The improved performance is encouraging and a testament to the drive and passion to win shown by everyone who works here at Minto.
“From the mine’s performance to the enhancements we have seen in our milling operation, we are pleased with the production growth in 2021. I am optimistic about the future at Minto and look forward to building stronger relationships with the Selkirk First Nation and the various Yukon regulatory agencies,” Stewart added. “Our goal is to carry the momentum from 2021 into 2022.”
The company’s previously communicated ore production ramp-up target of 4,000 tonnes per day in 2022 has been delayed as the company awaits the necessary permits to expand its underground mine operations. As a result, the company’s production rate has been adjusted down as outlined in this release. Executing the company’s fill-the-mill strategy is now expected to occur in 2023.
On January 1, 2022, the company began operating its underground mine operations with Minto employees. “This change signals a significant investment in our people and continues our cultural shift to delivering consistent, improved performance across the business and we believe our new employees, along with our current employees, are motivated to safely deliver on our targets for 2022,” said Stewart.
Minto has reached an agreement with Capstone Mining Corp. [CS-TSX] to defer paying part of Minto’s purchase price obligation. In accordance with the future expenditures agreement between Pembridge and Minto announced on December 1, 2021, payments to Capstone of the purchase price are to be made by Minto. Of the total purchase price of US$20-million, US$5-million was paid by Minto on March 30, 2021, and the remaining US$15-million (with the contingent requirements having been met) was due in December, 2021. Under a new agreement reached with Capstone, the amount to be paid in December, 2021, was adjusted to US$10-million, which was paid to Capstone before December 31, 2021. The remaining US$5-million is now payable January 15, 2023.
Minto owns and operates the producing Minto mine located in the Minto copper belt of Yukon, Canada. The Minto mine has been in operation since 2007 with underground mining commencing in 2014. Since 2007, approximately 500 million lbs copper have been produced. Capstone Mining (previous owner) put the Minto mine into care and maintenance in 2018 and the mine operations were shut down. In mid-2019 Minto (formerly Minto Explorations Ltd.) purchased the Minto mine operation and restarted the mine.