Teck drops 2023 copper, moly and coal production targets

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Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX-TECK.B, TSX-TECK.A, NYSE-TECK) has lowered its annual copper production outlook due to a localized geotechnical event at the Highland Valley operation in British Columbia that occurred in August 2023.

The 2023 production targets for molybdenum and steelmaking coal have also been reduced, according to forecasts disclosed in the company’s third quarter results.

Teck said its 2023 annual copper production guidance has decreased to 320,000 to 365,000 tonnes from 330,000 to 375,000 tonnes. However, this geotechnical event is not expected to impact its annual production beyond 2023.

The company said 2023 annual production targets for its QB2 copper project in northern Chile remain unchanged from the previously disclosed forecast of 80,000-100,000 tonnes.

Molybdenum production is expected to reach 3.0 million to 3.8 million pounds, down from an earlier target of 4.5 million to 6.8 million pounds. This is due to a delay in the construction of the QB2 molybdenum plant.

Due to plant challenges this year, Teck has reduced its steel making coal production target to 23.0 million to 23.5 million tonnes from 24.0 million to 26.0 million tonnes.

Teck’s Class B common shares moved lower on the news, easing 4.6% or $2.43 to $50.80. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $66.04 and $40.66.

Meanwhile, the company said profit from continuing operations attributable to shareholders was $276 million or 53 cents per share in the third quarter of 2023. That was down from $741 million in the equivalent 2022 quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2022, driven by robust copper and steelmaking coal and higher base metal sales volumes; profit from continuing operations before taxes was $589 million in the third quarter of 2023.

Teck is a diversified miner with coal, copper, zinc, and oil sands operations in Canada, the U.S., Chile and Peru.

It ranks as the world’s second-largest seaborne exporter of steelmaking coal, with six operations in Western Canada and significant steelmaking coal reserves. They include Elkview, Fording River, Greenhills and Line Creek in southeastern British Columbia.

“We made solid progress on the ramp-up of our flagship QB2 copper project, generating gross profit in the third quarter, and we remain on track to achieve design throughput by year-end,’’ said Teck CEO Jonathan Price.

“Positive financial performance was driven by continued strong commodity prices, partially offset by lower steelmaking coals sales due to supply chain disruptions – resulting from the B.C. port strike,’’ Price said.

At full production, QB2 is expected to double Teck’s copper production on a consolidated basis. Ranking as one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper resources, it has an initial mine life of 27 years using only approximately 18% of the 2022 reserves and resource tonnage with significant potential for future growth.

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