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Atlas continues to cut losses as production, revenues increase

An open pit at Carmen Copper Corporation in Toledo City, Cebu (Ventures Cebu photo)

Copper producer Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation said it has continued to reduce its net loss, amounting to only P45 million as of September 2019 as revenues increased due to higher production and export volumes.

This was a 94% drop from the P783 million in the first three quarters of 2018, the company said in a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange on October 28, 2019.

The bigger output minimized the impact of lower copper prices, which were 9% lower at US$2.73/lb in 2019 than US$3.00/lb in 2018.

As a result of the increased production, revenues went up 18% to P13.03 billion for the period January to September 2019 from P11.03 billion in the same period in 2018.

Wholly-owned subsidiary Carmen Copper Corporation, which operates the vast copper mines in Toledo City in southwest Cebu, improved copper metal and gold production.

Copper metal output went up by 29% to 81.54 million pounds as of September 2019 from 63.14 million pounds in 2018.

Gold production increased by 43% to 28,704 ounces in 2019 from 20,088 ounces in the previous year.

These improvements resulted from higher tonnage milled and higher realized grades, Atlas Mining said.

Milling tonnage increased by 9% to 13.07 million tonnes from 12.02 million tonnes.

Copper grades improved by 19% to 0.325% from 0.272% while gold grade improved by 10% to 6.19 grams/dmt from 5.65 grams/dmt.

Carmen Copper also reported a 30% increase in copper concentrates exports to 146,786 tonnes from 113,218 tonnes.

"The improvement in operating efficiencies that increased throughput and realized higher grades resulted in a lower average cost per pound by 24% from US$1.77/lb in 2018 to US$1.35/lb in 2019. However, due to the higher volume of shipments, cash costs were 8% higher from P7.74 billion to P8.35 billion," the Atlas Mining statement read.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) settled at P4.77 billion, 42% higher than the P3.37 billion in the same period in 2018 "as the gains from higher revenues offset the increase in cash costs".

"Accordingly, core income increased by 159% to P438 million even with higher financing and depletion charges in 2019 compared to a core loss of P742 million in 2018," the company added.

Atlas Mining reported its 2018 consolidated net loss at P1.72 billion, 13% lower than the 2017 loss.

The Toledo copper mines are among the biggest in Asia. (Ventures Cebu)

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