North American Palladium releases 2018 production results, operational and safety improvements

by Keith Powell
The Lac des Iles Mine in a low-risk jurisdiction northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The Lac des Iles Mine in a low-risk jurisdiction northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario. — Photo courtesy North American Palladium

North American Palladium Ltd. (“NAP” or the “Company”) (TSX:PDL) (OTC PINK:PALDF) recently announced production results for the year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 2018 and provided production guidance for 2019.

In 2018, the Company produced a total of 237,461 ounces of payable palladium, meeting the upper half of its 2018 guidance of between 230,000 to 240,000 ounces; an increase of 18% over the 201,592 ounces of payable palladium produced in 2017. Q4 2018 palladium production reached 65,904 payable ounces as compared to 58,000 ounces in Q4 2017.

The average daily underground production rate was just over 6,260 tonnes per day (tpd) during 2018 versus 5,198 tpd in 2017, including an average of 6,720 tpd in the fourth quarter 2018, versus 6,285 tpd in Q4 2017; the highest quarterly production rate since underground operations began in 2006.

Jim Gallagher, President and CEO of North American Palladium, stated, “2018 was another year of steady growth and strong operational and safety performance for the Lac des Iles Mine. Our team has worked hard to safely deliver increased production throughout the year, reaching the upper range of our production guidance.”

Key accomplishments for the year included:

  • Lac des Iles Mine achieving a lost time free year and, as of January 28, 2019, 478 days without a lost time accident;
  • A further reduction in the Total Reportable Injury Frequency from 2.7 in 2017 to 2.2 in 2018, significantly below the Ontario mining average;
  • Completion of the Sherriff Pit with a total of 696,333 tonnes mined in 2018 at 1.6 grams of palladium per tonne;
  • The building and commissioning of a tailings thickener which will improve tailings management and reduce water consumption;
  • Commissioning of a new, high capacity underground dewatering system.

Looking to 2019:

  • Operations will be focused on the expansion of the underground mine to 12,000 tpd by 2021 as detailed in the feasibility study published in October, 2018.
  • 2019 underground production will rise to approximately 7,500 tpd by year end as the underground mine expands into lower grade material in the upper part of the mine. Palladium production in 2019 will remain near 2018 levels.

2019 Guidance

In 2019, the Company expects production of between 220,000 to 235,000 ounces of payable palladium.

The average head grade will drop slightly in 2019, primarily due to the completion of the Sheriff Pit and the subsequent increased processing of low-grade ore from the surface stock pile.

All in sustaining costs for 2019 are forecasted to average between US$785 to $815 per payable palladium ounce. Sustaining capital investment is estimated at C$44M, while project capital is forecasted at C$40M.

Fourth quarter results to be announced February 14, 2019

NAP will announce its fourth quarter 2018 financial results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2018 after market close on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

About North American Palladium Ltd.

North American Palladium (TSX: PDL) (OTC PINK: PALDF) is a Canadian company with 25 years of production at the Lac des Iles Mine in a low-risk jurisdiction northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario. North American Palladium is the world’s only pure play palladium producer. With over 600 employees, the Lac des Iles Mine features a unique, world-class ore body and modern infrastructure, including both an underground mine and an open pit mine.

Cautionary Statements on Forward-Looking Information Apply

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