Western Areas completes strong operational year

PRIME nickel operator Western Areas has delivered a decent operational quarterly performance as it continues to await better commodity pricing.
Western Areas completes strong operational year Western Areas completes strong operational year Western Areas completes strong operational year Western Areas completes strong operational year Western Areas completes strong operational year

Nickel miner Western Areas continues to deliver. 

Michael Quinn

While cash at bank increased in the June quarter by A$28.3 million to $140 million, nearly $27 million of this was due to sell down of its interest in Bluejay Mining.

Still, Western Areas produced also pointed out that capital and exploration expenditure was the highest for the year at $15.2 million – versus $7.6 million in the March quarter.

And the company pointed to free cashflow for the year of $64.6 million after all capital and exploration expenditure and corporate costs.

Nonetheless, recent nickel pricing of less than A$12,500 per tonne hasn’t been helpful, with nickel at about $14,000/t 12 months ago and above $15,000/t for about six weeks late last year.

Mine production of 25,996t of contained nickel last financial year was a smidgen (4t!) under the upper end of guidance, with unit cash costs of $2.38 per pound ($5245/t) at the lower end.

Mine production in the June quarter of 5994t was the lowest for the year.

Western Areas said it had now “delivered seven consecutive years of meeting or beating operational guidance metrics”.

Guidance for the current year will be given next month.

Shares in Western Areas were up 1% to $2.325, capitalising the miner at $633 million.

The stock started 2017 at levels around $3.