Copper prices set Teck profit on fire — up 247% in Q1

Tailings pond at Teck Resources’ Antamina copper-zinc mine in Peru. (Image courtesy of Paulo Tomaz |Flickr Commons.)

Teck Resources (TSX:TECK.A | TECK.B)(NYSE:TCK), Canada’s largest diversified miner, became one of the latest mining companies to see its profit swell thanks copper prices being pushed to all-time highs by vaccine rollouts and climate pledges.

The Vancouver-based miner reported a 246.8% jump in first-quarter adjusted profit on Wednesday of C$326 million ($262.88 million) or 61 Canadian cents per share. That compares to a net income of C$94 million, or 17 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Copper prices have more than doubled from its covid-lows, and are about to pass the 10,000 a tonne mark, fuelled by a widely-held belief that demand for the metal will skyrocket in the short and medium term. Post-pandemic economic stimulus and a worldwide push for decarbonization, in which copper plays a key role, have contributed to the gains.

Teck attributed the eye-pooping jump in profit not only to the copper bonanza, but also to higher prices of zinc and blended bitumen, which were higher than a year ago.

“Strong first-quarter operational performance, in line with plan, and higher commodity prices contributed to a very solid start to 2021,” Teck chief executive Don Lindsay said in the statement.

The company highlighted milestones achieved at its priority projects, including surpassing the halfway point at its flagship Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) copper project in Chile and moving into the commissioning phase of the Neptune coal terminal upgrade, on Canada’s West Coast.

Teck keeps its 2021 guidance unchanged at 275,000 to 290,000 tonnes of copper; 25.5 – 26.5

Million tonnes of steelmaking coal; 585,000 – 610,000 tonnes of zinc and 8.6 – 12.1 million barrels of bitumen.

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