Lundin Mining (TSX: LUN) has completed its previously arranged deal to acquire all the outstanding shares of Josemaria Resources, whose primary asset is the Josemaria copper-gold project in San Juan, Argentina. In December 2021, Lundin announced that it would be acquiring Josemaria for an implied equity value of approximately $625 million.
According to a feasibility study completed in 2020, the Josemaria deposit is expected to produce an average of 166,000 tonnes of copper, 331,000 oz. of gold and 1.2 million oz. of silver per year for the first three years. Over a 19-year mine life defined by the current mineral reserve estimate, average annual production is forecast to be 131,000 tonnes of copper, 224,000 oz. of gold and 1 million oz. of silver, at an average total cash cost of US$1.55/lb. of copper-equivalent.
The project has been advancing through its permitting process, and its environmental social impact assessment was recently approved by the mining authority of San Juan. Lundin and the Josemaria project team are currently working with the national and provincial authorities to progress the project through the next stages of development.
In the meantime, Josemaria is progressing through basic engineering with procurement of long-lead time equipment, including securing key items of crushing and processing. Study work is ongoing, including updating of cost estimates to be reflective of current conditions and evaluation of potential scope changes compared to plans envisaged in the 2020 feasibility study.
While this work has not yet concluded, Lundin expects the initial capital expenditure estimate of the project to be greater than US$4 billion. Upon closing, the company intends to spend up to US$300 million to advance the project ahead of a construction decision in the second half of 2022, including engineering, commitments for long lead items, preconstruction activities and drilling.
An updated technical report for the project is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Prior to closing the Josemaria acquisition, Lundin also released its financial results for the first quarter of 2022. For the three-month period, the company posted earnings attributable to shareholders of US$345.1 million, adjusted earnings of US$295.6 million and adjusted EBITDA of US$587.8 million, all of which were higher than the comparable quarter of 2021.
On the operations front, total copper, zinc and nickel production are all tracking above the mid-point of the company's 2022 guidance ranges of 258,000 to 282,000 tonnes of copper, 188,000 to 203,000 tonnes of zinc and 15,000 to 18,000 tonnes of nickel. Gold production is currently trending at the low end of the 153,000 to 163,000 oz. range.
Details of Lundin's Q1 2022 results can be found at www.lundinmining.com.