Hudbay reduces Rosemont spending, now looks to develop other mining projects first

Hudbay CEO Alan Hair

Hudbay CEO Alan Hair

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. continues to cut spending on its Rosemont copper project and is now emphasizing developing major projects in Manitoba and Peru before it turns its attention to constructing the $1.5 billion open pit mine in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson, according to company information released last week.

Hudbay’s deemphasis on Rosemont comes at the same time the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles district office in July recommended denial of a federal Clean Water Act permit needed to construct the mine. The Army Corps regional office in San Francisco is reviewing the recommendation and is expected to make a decision later this winter.

Hudbay CEO Alan Hair told investment analysts in a Nov. 3 conference call the company expects to issue an updated Rosemont technical report in the 1st Quarter of 2017 “outlining the feasibility work completed to date and an updated reserve and resource estimate.”

Investment analysts appear to have written off any possibility of Rosemont being developed in the next two years. Mathew Fields of Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated “we can get forget about Rosemont for while” when he asked about Hudbay’s capital expenditure plans for 2017 and 2018, according to a transcript of the conference call published by Yahoo Finance.

Hudbay slashed spending on Rosemont to $22 million in the first nine months of 2016, down from $30 million for the same period in 2015, according the company’s 3rd Quarter Management Discussion and Analysis. 

The reduced spending is even more pronounced for the three months ending Sept. 30. In 2015, Hudbay spent $14.4 million in the 3rd Quarter compared to $5.1 million for the same period this year.

Hair told analysts Hudbay expects to focus future capital spending on upgrading operations at its Lalor Mine in Snow Lake, Manitoba in 2017 and 2018. Lalor is an underground gold, zinc and copper mine. The company has plans to expand its operations at the Constancia open-pit copper mine in Peru by developing a satellite pit called Pampacancha, with the bulk of the capital spending beginning in early 2018.

Hair was vague on the level of capital spending in Manitoba and Peru, but said further details will be released in upcoming technical reports.

Hudbay posted $33.6 million profit in the 3rd Quarter, compared with a loss of $11.8 million for the same period in 2015 when Hudbay took a $21.4 million impairment charge related to equipment it inherited from the 2014 acquisition of Vancouver, B.C. junior mining company Augusta Resource Corporation, the company stated in a Nov. 3 press release.

Hudbay’s cash and cash equivalents fell during the 3rd Quarter from $294 million on June 30 to $277 million on Sept. 30, according to the company’s 3rd Quarter Presentation posted on its website.  Hudbay’s long term debt fell from $1.168 billion as of June 30 to $1.105 billion on Sept. 30.

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3 Responses to Hudbay reduces Rosemont spending, now looks to develop other mining projects first

  1. ALAN JOHNSON says:

    Hudbay has higher priority projects to deal with at this time than the un-permited ROSEMONT COPPER PROJECT . The declining value of the CANADIAN DOLLAR makes it increasingly costly for HUDBAY to do business in the US .

    The sudden change in the POLITICAL SCENE in the US is definitely a factor that must be carefully watched in the coming months . In the meantime , HUDBAY’S position is to ” WAIT AND SEE “.

    HUDBAY desperately wants the permit issued as that will give them a BANKABLE DOCUMENT that they can use as collateral as and when a decision is taken to move forward with the development of the ROSEMONT COPPER PROJECT .

  2. ALAN JOHNSON says:

    Did HUDBAY actually sell all of the equipment that AUGUSTA had acquired prior to the HUDBAY takeover ? If so , this should appear as proceeds in their accounting . Is there any equipment remaining on site ? What , if anything , is stored in the large warehouse-like structure that currently exists on the property ?

    The $21.4 million impairment charge related to equipment tied to the AUGUSTA purchase should have been offset by HUDBAY’S sale of the equipment . Perhaps this represents the loss that they incurred from the sale of the equipment . The amount is almost insignificant when you consider the $1.5 billion CAPEX that will be required to bring the ROSEMONT COPPER PROJECT into production .

  3. Steven Andrews says:

    Does this mean that they are re-considering this proposal?
    What would stop them from selling it to another mining company and starting from where they left off?
    Do their permits ever expire?
    I think that Mr. Johnson makes some good points as I have started following this issue recently. I found that Mr. Johnson’s comments have have some good substance to them and make some very valid points.
    I have been following Rosemont for about six months since moving here, and interested in helping the cause where I can.
    Keep up the good information…….