PanAust Ltd says its Phu Kham mine in Laos achieved record copper production at a competitive cash cost in the December quarter.
This was due to above nameplate ore processing rates and high commodity prices for precious metal by-products, the company said.
PanAust said it produced 18,871 tonnes of copper at an average cash cost of US$0.76 per pound, after gold and silver credits.
PanAust expects earnings for the 2011 year to be between $US335 million and $US390 million, assuming copper prices between US$4 per pound and US$4.50 per pound.
“Above nameplate mill processing rates were achieved on soft transitional ores,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
“This, coupled with the above average copper head grades during the quarter and increased copper recovery rates, contributed to the outstanding quarterly production performance.”
PanAust says strong mining and production performances are expected to continue during the March quarter of 2011.
Total yearly production at Phu Kham is forecast to be between 62,000 tonnes and 65,000 tonnes of copper.
At December 31, 2010, the company had $US185 million in cash, debt of $US45 million and undrawn debt facilities of $US40 million.
Earnings in the 2010 year were $US299 million, $US9 million above guidance, the company said.
PanAust shares closed up one cent at 82.5 cents.