TORONTO – Last year was a tough one for NORTH AMERICAN PALLADIUM, which racked up a realized net loss of $53.6 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005. Revenues for the year were $92.6 million.
The company blames the poor results on the low spot price of palladium, falling head grades and operational problems (a leak in the tailings dam) at the Lac des Iles mine, the strong Canadian dollar, and increased operating costs. The cash cost per ounce (net of byproduct credits) rose to US$359 in 2005, from US$159 in 2004. Palladium was trading at US$279/oz at mid-day, March 8. Platinum production was significantly lower last year. The Lac des Iles mine produced 177,167 oz in 2005, compared with 308,931 oz in 2004.
North American says the operating problems at the mine are resolved, and underground mining will restart later this month. At that time the production rate will again reach historical levels.
The Lac des Iles pit had measured and indicated resources of 29.0 million tonnes grading 1.51 g/t Pd plus platinum, gold, copper and nickel values. Indicated resources for the underground mine are 333,000 tonnes grading 7.46 g/t Pd.
The day after releasing its financial statements, North American Palladium announced it is raising US$58.5 million by issuing convertible notes and share purchase warrants. The proceeds will be used to complete the underground development at Lac des Iles and for exploration at the Arctic platinum project (where it is earning a 50% interest from Gold Fields).
The entire press releases are posted at www.NAPalladium.com.