All amounts in US$ unless otherwise indicated

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Capstone Copper Corp. (“Capstone” or the “Company”) (TSX:CS) today reported financial results for the six months and quarter ended June 30, 2023 (“Q2 2023”). Copper production in Q2 totaled 39.3 thousand tonnes at C1 cash costs1 of $3.01 per payable pound of copper produced. The Company has provided H2 2023 guidance of 83-93kt of copper at C1 cash costs1 of $2.55 to $2.75 per payable pound. Link HERE for Capstone’s Q2 2023 webcast presentation.

"We are excited to report that construction at our flagship Mantoverde Development Project ("MVDP") remains on-time and on-budget ahead of our ramp-up commencing by year-end. Furthermore, despite a challenging start to the year, we expect our operational performance to improve in H2," commented John MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer.

"We would also like to note the retirement of Giancarlo Bruno, and thank him for the role he played in the development of Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde, and welcome James Whittaker as our new SVP, Head of Chile. As we continue to execute on our sector leading growth, Mr. Whittaker brings over 30 years of experience in operations and project development, and most recently was with BHP Chile as President of Escondida. This year marks an inflection point for Capstone Copper; with a strong team, a deep organic growth profile, and a solid balance sheet, I believe we are well-positioned to benefit all stakeholders."


  • Net loss of $33.9 million, or $(0.05) per share for Q2 2023. Adjusted net loss attributable to shareholders1 of $12.2 million, or $(0.02) per share for Q2 2023. Q2 2023 adjusted net loss attributable to shareholders1 is lower compared to Q2 2022 adjusted net loss attributable to shareholders1 of $27.7 million due to lower income taxes.
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 of $43.4 million for Q2 2023 compared to $115.8 million for Q2 2022. The decrease in Adjusted EBITDA1 is driven by lower copper sold (40.8 thousand tonnes in Q2 2023 versus 45.5 thousand tonnes in Q2 2022) and a lower copper price of $3.76/lb compared to $4.10/lb (prior to unrealized provisional pricing adjustments).
  • Operating cash flow before changes in working capital of $22.0 million in Q2 2023 compared to $40.7 million in Q2 2022.
  • Consolidated copper production for Q2 2023 of 39.3 thousand tonnes at C1 cash costs1 of $3.01/lb. Copper production was lower than expected in the second quarter due to unplanned downtime in the crushing circuit at Pinto Valley resulting in approximately twelve lost production days plus mill maintenance downtime at Mantos Blancos. Lower production levels and maintenance expenses were the key drivers related to higher consolidated cash costs, as input costs have largely tracked in-line with expectations.
  • The Company has provided H2 guidance of 83kt to 93kt of copper production at C1 cash costs1 of $2.55/lb to $2.75/lb. H2 2023 is expected to be improving in terms of production and costs, compared to H1. This results in updated consolidated 2023 copper production guidance of 163kt to 173kt at C1 cash costs of ~$2.75/lb to $2.85/lb.
  • Mantoverde Development Project ("MVDP") remains on budget and on schedule. Construction is progressing well on all key areas of the project with overall progress at approximately 88% complete. Total project spend inception-to-date was approximately $706 million at the end of June 2023 of a total budget of $825 million.
  • Total available liquidity1 of $419.6 million as at June 30, 2023, composed of $117.6 million of cash and short-term investments, and $302.0 million of undrawn amounts on the corporate revolving credit facility.

1 These are alternative performance measures. Refer to the section entitled “Alternative Performance Measures” in the Cautionary Notes


Refer to Capstone's Q2 2023 MD&A and Financial Statements for detailed operating results.


Q2 2023

Q2 2022

2023 YTD

2022 YTD

Copper production (000s tonnes)





Sulphide business





Pinto Valley










Mantos Blancos





Total sulphides





Cathode business





Mantos Blancos










Total cathodes










Copper sales





Copper sold (000s tonnes)





Realized copper price1 ($/pound)





C1 cash costs1 ($/pound) produced





Sulphides business





Pinto Valley










Mantos Blancos





Total sulphides





Cathode business





Mantos Blancos










Total cathodes










2 Mantoverde production shown on a 100% basis.

Consolidated Production

Q2 2023 copper production of 39.3 thousand tonnes was 13% lower than Q2 2022 primarily as a result of expected lower oxide production at Mantoverde on lower grade ore related to the mining sequence as we are transitioning to sulphide ore for MVDP. In addition, Pinto Valley had lower overall mill throughput due to unplanned downtime related to the primary crusher conveyor support structure repair resulting in approximately twelve days of downtime.

Q2 2023 C1 cash costs1 of $3.01/lb were 8% higher than $2.78/lb Q2 2022 mainly impacted by 13% lower production partially offset by lower production costs at Mantoverde related to lower acid prices and diesel prices.

2023 YTD copper production of 80.0 thousand tonnes of copper is higher than the 67.7 thousand tonnes in 2022 YTD, primarily as a result of full quarter of production in Q1 2023 versus nine day production in Q1 2022 at Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde.

2023 YTD C1 cash costs1 of $2.99/lb were 14% higher than 2022 YTD mainly on lower throughput rates, and operational costs slightly higher than prior year.

Cathode production is from copper oxide ore that requires sulphuric acid leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) to produce copper cathodes which are a finished copper product for the market. Sulphide production requires a mill that utilizes a grinding and flotation process to recover sulphide minerals in a copper concentrate saleable as an intermediate product to smelters and refiners. Capstone's low-cost sulphide production is growing significantly with the MVDP to be completed late in 2023.

Pinto Valley Mine

Copper production of 12.7 thousand tonnes in Q2 2023 was 5% lower than in Q2 2022 mainly on lower mill throughput during the quarter (Q2 2023 - 44,336 tpd versus Q2 2022 - 46,821 tpd) as a result of an unplanned twelve-day down time for conveyor and counterweight structure repair and maintenance. Grade was consistent with the same period prior year (Q2 2023 – 0.34% versus Q2 2022 - 0.34%). Recoveries were slightly lower compared to the same period last year (Q2 2023 - 87.4% versus Q2 2022 - 88.2%).

2023 YTD production was 8% lower than 2022 YTD mainly due to lower mill throughput (48,249 tpd in 2023 YTD versus 52,585 tpd in 2022 YTD) driven by heavy rainfall in Q1 2023, including flooding, which resulted in plugged chutes and screens; in addition, there was unplanned maintenance on the secondary crusher and conveyor belt replacement. Recoveries were higher than 2022 YTD (87.1% 2023 YTD versus 85.0% 2022 YTD) due to lower mill throughput. The mill feed grade was consistent with the same period last year (0.32% in 2023 YTD versus 0.33% in 2022 YTD).

Q2 2023 C1 cash costs1 of $2.98/lb in Q2 2023 were 6% higher than Q2 2022 of $2.82/lb primarily due to lower production ($0.13/lb), increases in operating costs due to inflation ($0.11/lb) and lower capitalized stripping costs ($0.07/lb), partially offset by stockpile buildup (-$0.07/lb) and lower refining costs (-$0.08/lb).

2023 YTD C1 cash costs1 of $3.03/lb were $0.33/lb higher compared to the same period last year of $2.70/lb primarily due to lower production ($0.22/lb), increased mining costs due to inflationary pressures on explosives and grinding media, and higher spend on rental equipment, mining equipment tools and contractors ($0.20/lb) and lower capitalized stripping ($0.06/lb), partially offset by higher by-product credits on higher molybdenum production and lower treatment costs (-$0.15/lb). The cash costs are expected to trend down in H2 as result of higher production.

Mantos Blancos Mine

Q2 2023 production was 11.7 thousand tonnes, comprised of 8.4 thousand tonnes from sulphide operations and 3.3 thousand tonnes of cathode from oxide operations, 6% lower than the 12.4 thousand tonnes produced in 2022 YTD. The lower production was driven primarily by lower mill throughput (14,555 tpd in Q2 2023 versus 15,218 in Q2 2022) resulting from mill downtime caused by unplanned repair and maintenance of a mill lubrication system, restricted throughputs caused by tailings dewatering challenges due to presence of clays in the top benches of Phase 20, and other challenges related to the integration of pre-existing and new equipment. Head grades were lower in Q2 2023 compared to the same period last year (0.85% in Q2 2023 versus 0.90% in Q2 2022), due to mine plan sequence, and recoveries were higher in Q2 2023 compared to the same period last year (73.9% in Q2 2023 versus 69.7% in Q2 2022), driven by reagent optimization and operational improvements in the flotation area. A plan to address the plant stability during the second half of 2023 is underway that includes improved maintenance and optimization of the concentrator. We expect Mantos Blancos to be consistently delivering higher throughput rates during Q4.

2023 YTD production of 25.8 thousand tonnes, comprised of 19.2 thousand tonnes from sulphide operations and 6.6 thousand tonnes of cathode from oxide operations, was higher than the same period last year due to full operational Q1 2023 compared to nine-day stub period in Q1 2022.

Combined Q2 2023 C1 cash costs1 were 3.15/lb (3.18/lb sulphides and 3.08/lb cathodes) compared to combined C1 cash costs1 of 2.85/lb in Q2 2022, 10% higher than the same period last year mainly due to lower production ($0.12/lb), an increase in contracted services and labour cost mainly driven by unfavourable foreign exchange rate and inflation impact ($0.36/lb), plant maintenance and spare parts spend ($0.10/lb), partially offset by lower main consumables prices (-$0.32/lb) (realized acid prices averaged $156/t in Q2 2023 versus $268/t in Q2 2022 and diesel price averaged $0.68/l in Q2 2023 versus $1.03/l in Q2 2022).

Combined 2023 YTD C1 cash costs1 of 2.89/lb (2.77/lb sulphides and 3.22/lb cathodes) were consistent with $2.89/lb in 2022 YTD. For the second half of 2023, we expect a reduction in combined C1 cash costs1 as the production mix is expected to have a higher ratio of concentrates to cathodes and lower acid prices (average 2023 YTD $184/t and estimated remaining $152/t).

Mantoverde Mine

Q2 2023 copper production of 8.3 thousand tonnes was 37% lower compared to 13.1 thousand tonnes in Q2 2022. Heap operations grade was lower as a result of mine sequence (0.31% in Q2 2023 versus 0.49% in Q2 2022), and recoveries were slightly lower (73.4% in Q2 2023 versus 75.7% in Q2 2022). Heap throughput was slightly lower as well (2.7 million tonnes in Q2 2023 versus 2.8 million tonnes in Q2 2022). Dump operations grades were consistent with the same period last year. Production for the remainder of the year should be positively impacted by higher irrigation rates as a result of higher availability of water following a planned shutdown on the desalination plant that impacted water availability and the electrical tie-ins that have been completed year to date.

2023 YTD production of 16.8 thousand tonnes was higher than the same period last year due to full operational Q1 2023 compared to nine-day stub period in Q1 2022.

Q2 2023 C1 cash costs1 were 3.92/lb, 15% higher than 3.40/lb in Q2 2022 due to lower production ($1.90/lb) partially offset by lower sulphuric acid prices (-$0.88/lb) ($155/t in Q2 2023 versus $251/t in Q2 2022) and lower mine cost mainly driven by lower diesel prices (-$0.63/lb) ($0.69/l in Q2 2023 versus $1.04/l in Q2 2022).

2023 YTD C1 cash costs1 were 3.97/lb, 16% higher than $3.42/lb in 2022 YTD. For the second half of 2023, we expect a reduction in C1 cash costs1 due to lower energy prices (average YTD $0.24/kWh and estimated remaining $0.19/kWh).

Cozamin Mine

Q2 2023 copper production of 6.6 thousand tonnes was higher than the same period prior year mainly on higher grades (1.98% in Q2 2023 versus 1.88% in Q2 2022) as a result of mining higher grade areas. Recoveries and mill throughput were consistent quarter over quarter.

2023 YTD production was 4% lower than 2022 YTD due to lower throughput as a result of change in mining method (cut-and-fill) (3,602 tpd in 2023 YTD versus 3,789 tpd in 2022 YTD), partially offset by higher grades (1.88% in 2023 YTD versus 1.86% in 2022 YTD). Recoveries were consistent with the same period last year.

Q2 2023 C1 cash costs1 were 30% higher than the same period last year mainly due to inflationary price increases on the main consumables, unfavourable foreign exchange rate, start of paste plant operations, which resulted in an increase in labour, contractor and cement costs, and changes in mining method ($0.44/lb), partially offset by higher copper production (-$0.06/lb).

2023 YTD C1 cash costs1 were 40% higher than the same period last year primarily due to the change in mining method which resulted in an increase in contractor utilization, unfavourable foreign exchange rate and higher spend on mechanical parts to increase equipment availability and reliability ($0.34/lb). In addition, cash costs were impacted by lower production ($0.05/lb), lower zinc by-product credits due to planned lower zinc production ($0.05/lb).

Mantoverde Development Project

Construction of the MVDP located at the existing Mantoverde (oxide) operation continues to progress well. The MVDP is expected to enable the mine to process 231 million tonnes of copper sulphide reserves over a 20-year expected mine life, in addition to existing oxide reserves. The MVDP involves the addition of a sulphide concentrator (12.3 million tonnes per year) and tailings storage facility, and the expansion of the existing desalination plant.

Upon completion, the Company expects the MVDP to increase production from approximately 34,000 to 36,000 tonnes of copper (cathodes only) in our full year guidance for 2023 to approximately 110,000 to 120,000 tonnes of copper (copper concentrate and cathodes) post project completion. In parallel, C1 cash costs1 are expected to decrease from a range of ~$3.70/lb to ~$3.80/lb in the full year guidance for 2023 to blended costs of below $2.00/lb after project completion and ramp up. The decline in expected costs will be driven by the mine's transition to becoming a primary producer of copper concentrate. Upon completion of the MVDP, approximately 75% of Mantoverde's production will come from the lower-cost sulphide copper. The mine will also benefit from the production of approximately 31,000 ounces of gold per year that will generate by-product credits.

MVDP is progressing under a lump-sum turn-key engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with Ausenco Limited, a multi-national EPC management company, with broad international experience in the design and construction of copper concentrator projects of this scale in the international market. The execution plan includes a Capstone Copper owner’s team working with the contractors during the execution phase.

The Mantoverde Development Project is progressing well at approximately 88% complete and remains on track for commissioning and feeding first ore to the mill in late 2023. Areas of focus in Q2 2023 were:

  • Stockpile dome was completed in May;
  • Stockpiled approximately 4.4 million tonnes of sulphide ore grading ~0.63% copper and 0.11 g/t gold to date;
  • The primary crusher's mechanical and electrical tie-in was completed;
  • Mechanical installation of all flotation cells was completed according to plan; and
  • Critical equipment assembly is in progress according to the planned schedule: the SAG mill´s internal rubber lining was completed and the ball mill´s liners were installed.

As of June 30, 2023, the cost of the different components of the project, including the lump-sum turnkey EPC, continue on track and on target. The total project capital remains at $825 million and inception-to-date project spend, excluding finance costs, totals $706 million.

A virtual tour of the project can be viewed at

Chilean Tax Reform

In May 2023, the Chilean Congress finalized the discussion surrounding the proposed Mining Royalty Bill, which was reviewed and approved by the Constitutional Court of Chile on July 15, 2023. The Mining Royalty Bill, which is expected to be passed into law once signed by the President of Chile and published in the Official Gazette, is anticipated to be effective on January 1, 2024.

The Mining Royalty Bill contains two components, an ad-valorem component and a mine operating margin component. The ad-valorem component is applicable to companies with annual sales of copper that are higher than the equivalent of 50,000 metric tonnes of fine copper ("MTFC"). If the company's "Adjusted Mining Operational Taxable Income", or "RIOMA" as it is referred to in Chile, is negative, the ad-valorem component to be paid will be calculated by subtracting the negative amount of the RIOMA from the ad-valorem component. The ad-valorem component of the Mining Royalty will be deductible when determining First Category income taxes, however, not for purposes of determining RIOMA. The ad-valorem component is capped at 1% of gross copper revenues.

The mine operating margin ("MOM") component will vary depending on the sales volume of the company, along with whether more than 50% of its annual production is copper. Mining companies which derive more than 50% of their income from copper sales and exceed 50,000 MTFC will pay a tax rate that fluctuates between 8% and 26% based on the following table:


Maximum effective rate

Less than 20%


greater than 20% but less than 45%

the rate increases linearly to 12%

greater than 45% but less than 60%

the rate increases linearly to 26%

Greater than 60%


The MOM component will not be applicable in cases where the RIOMA is negative and is calculated based on total mine operating margin, which includes silver and gold by-products. The final Mining Royalty Bill includes depreciation as a fully deductible operational expense, however, unlike the First Category deduction, it is on a non-accelerated basis.

The Mining Royalty includes a maximum limit to the total tax burden, consisting of (1) the corporate income tax paid in the respective year, (2) the Mining Royalty (both ad-valorem and MOM components) and (3) withholding taxes to which owners would be subject to upon distribution of dividends. The calculation of withholding taxes assumes a 100% distribution, and is calculated considering a tax burden of 35% of net taxable income, i.e. an additional 8% to the First Category rate of 27%. The Mining Royalty establishes that when the sum of three component exceeds 46.5% of RIOMA, then the Mining Royalty would be adjusted in such a way that it does not exceed the limit.

As a change in tax law is accounted for in the period of enactment, we expect the effect of the change to be recognized in our results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023. The Company is in the process of reviewing the expected impact, however, upon enactment we expect to record a deferred income tax expense in the range of $45 million to $55 million and a corresponding increase to deferred income tax liabilities. The Mining Royalty is not expected to have an impact on Santo Domingo which has 15 years of tax stability post commencement of commercial production as a result of Decree Law No. 600 ("DL 600") during which time it will remain subject to the current Specific Tax on Mining. Furthermore, given the Company's growth projects in Chile, we do not expect to incur cash withholding taxes for many years.

Surety Bond Utilization

In May 2023, Minto Metals Corp. ("Minto") announced that they had ceased all operations at the Minto Mine located within the Selkirk First Nation's territory in the Yukon and that the Yukon Government had assumed care and control of the site.

In conjunction with Capstone's sale of the Minto Mine in 2019, Minto posted a surety bond of C$72 million to cover potential future reclamation liabilities. While this surety bond is outstanding, the Company remains an indemnitor to the surety bond provider. As Minto has defaulted on the surety bond during the quarter, Capstone recognized a liability of approximately US$54 million (C$72 million) related to our obligations to the issuer of the surety bond.

Mantoverde - Santo Domingo District Integration Plan

The Company is focused on creating a world-class mining district in the Atacama region of Chile, targeting over 200,000 tonnes per year of low-cost copper production with the potential to also become one of the largest and lowest cost battery grade cobalt producers in the world outside of China and the DRC. Capstone Copper has the opportunity to unlock a total of $80-100 million per year in operating cost synergies, while also enabling additional copper and cobalt production, infrastructure capital savings, and the potential for significant tax synergies.

Santo Domingo FS Update

Santo Domingo has started the flowsheet optimization process previously announced by awarding Ausenco a Prefeasibility Study ("PFS") subsequently followed by a Feasibility Study ("FS") scope. Most improvements identified through the development of several technical assessments conducted by subject matter experts before this work have been confirmed and integrated into the PFS design. Taking into consideration the previous feasibility study and recently produced metallurgical testwork data and optimized mine plan, Ausenco will put together a new Technical Report that will be used to update the market with the Santo Domingo current business case, which is expected to be completed by year-end. Also, project debottlenecking activities have continued to maintain Capstone Copper's "shovel ready" position by advancing permitting and formalizing agreements with third parties.

The Feasibility Study will incorporate some of the synergies previously identified by Capstone in the Mantoverde-Santo Domingo district, namely related to water and power initiatives. This includes a plan to expand the existing Mantoverde desalination plant to 840 litres per second, utilization of existing water pipelines, and upgraded energy transmission capacity to Santo Domingo.

Mantoverde Optimized FS and Phase II

The Company is currently analyzing the next expansion of the sulphide concentrator. Capstone has identified that the desalination plant capacity and major components of the comminution and flotation circuits of the Mantoverde Development Project are capable of sustaining average annual throughput of between 40,000 and 45,000 tonnes per day with no major capital equipment upgrades. Capstone continues to work with Ausenco's engineering team to develop the Optimized Mantoverde Development Project (MVDP Optimized FS), including evaluating the costs and timelines of debottlenecking the minor components of the plant to meet the potential throughput target. The conceptual engineering study was completed in Q2 and the Feasibility Study is on track for completion in Q1 2024.

Given the above, the Mantoverde Phase II study will evaluate the addition of an entire second processing line, possibly a duplication of the first line, to process some of the additional 77% of resources not utilized by the optimized MVDP.


Jerrold Annett, SVP, Strategy and Capital Markets

Daniel Sampieri, Director, Investor Relations & Strategic Analysis

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