South American miner Nexa Resources expects its 2021 production and sales to meet targets established in the third quarter of the year. However, its production guidance for 2022 has been modified to reflect the revised mine plans, though sales guidance is unchanged.
The global zinc miner’s mid-range production guidance is expected to rise by 8pc in 2021 compared to 2020 as it continues operating at normal capacity utilization rates. Zinc output is projected to increase by 7pc in 2022 compared with 2021 due to a ramp-up at Aripuanã. However, the company projects zinc output will fall by 4pc in 2023 against 2022 due to reduced zinc head average grade.
Nexa’s metal sales are estimated to grow by 7pc in 2021 compared to 2020 and may modestly rise to 615,000-640,000mt in 2022-2023, on elevated utilization rates expected at the company’s smelters during that period.
2020 output down
The miner’s zinc production fell by 13.3pc to 313,000mt in 2020 compared to 361,000mt in 2019. However, it rose by 11pc to 92,000mt in Q4 2020 from 83,000mt in the same 2019 quarter. The improvement was due to strong performance at Nexa’s Vazante and Cerro Lindo mines.
The metal producer’s copper output dropped by 26.3pc to 28,000mt in 2020 from 38,000mt in 2019. Copper production fell 10pc to 9,000mt in Q4 2020 against 10,000mt in the same prior-year timeframe.
Nexa produced 38,000mt of lead in 2020 down by 25.5pc from 51,000mt in 2019 but increased in Q4 2020 by 8.3pc to 13,000mt versus 12,000mt in the last quarter of 2019.
The company’s smelting segment produced 588,000mt of metal in 2020, down by 5.8pc compared to 624,000mt in 2019, due to COVID-19-related restrictions that led to reduced capacity utilization rates at its Cajamarquilla and Juiz de Fora smelters. Metal production in Q4 2020 tallied at 160,000mt, falling by 0.6pc against 161,000mt in Q4 2019.
The smelter’s metal sales, though above 2020 guidance, fell by 5.8pc to 585,000mt in 2020 against 621,000mt during 2019. Metal sales levels of 162,000mt in Q4 2020 were relatively unchanged compared to the same quarter in the prior year.