Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) is seeing improved grades at its Red Lake mine in Ontario following difficulties in the first quarter that have prompted the company to raise concerns production would be less than expected.
“We’re currently undertaking a review of the mine plan at Red Lake as well as the flexibility within the rest of the portfolio over the balance of 2012 to assess the potential impact to our company-wide production,” chief executive Chuck Jeannes said Thursday.
“We expect this process to be complete by the end of the current quarter and we’ll update the market at that time.”
BMO Capital Markets analyst David Haughton, who rated Goldcorp an “outperform”, noted he expected Goldcorp to produce about 2.5 million ounces of gold this year compared with its current guidance for 2.6 million.
However, Haughton noted that he expects Goldcorp’s production and costs to return to its expected guidance for 2013.
Shares in Goldcorp were down $2.65, or more than six per cent, at $37.84 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange after it reported weaker than expected first-quarter results due to the problems at Red Lake.
The gold miner said poor ground conditions delayed work at the mine and lower than expected grades of ore in other areas of the mine cut into production. Gold production at Red Lake totalled 114,200 ounces for the quarter, down from 186,100 ounces a year ago.
However despite the problems at Red Lake, Jeannes said the company’s other operations were doing well.
For the quarter, Goldcorp produced 524,700 ounces of gold, down from 637,600 a year ago, while it saw an average realized price of $1,707 per ounce, up from $1,394. Total cash costs amounted to $251 per ounce on a by-product basis, up from $188 a year ago.
Jeannes played down concerns in Argentina, where Goldcorp is building a new mine, following a move by the government there to nationalize the country’s largest oil company.
“We understand that the government’s action is born out of a very unique set of circumstances that have unfolded over a number of years between these parties and does not suggest a similar course of action with respect to the mining industry,” he said.
Haughton said “exposure to Argentina has caused some investor anxiety recently.”
After the close of markets Wednesday, Goldcorp reported a first-quarter profit of US$79 million or 51 cents per diluted share in its latest quarter, down from $651 million or 81 cents per diluted share a year ago. Revenue grew to $1.35 billion, up from $1.22 billion.
Excluding one-time items, the company reported an adjusted profit of $404 million or 50 cents per share, compared with $392 million or 49 cents per share a year ago.
The average analyst estimate had been for a profit of 58 cents per share, according to those surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Goldcorp is Canada’s second-largest gold company.
The company has mines as well as exploration and development projects in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Guatemala and Argentina.