Coeur nets record '06 earnings

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2007

Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., the Idaho-based parent corporation of Juneau's Kensington Mine, reported Wednesday a record net income for 2006 of $88.5 million, yielding 30 cents per share.

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The figures compare with the company's 2005 net income of $10.6 million, or 4 cents per share.

For the fourth quarter of 2006, the company reported a net income of $23.2 million, or 8 cents per share, up from $9.9 million, or 4 cents per share, during the same period in 2005.

Metal sales for both the fourth quarter and the full year were also higher than the previous year, equaling $67.1 million and $216.6 million, respectively, compared to $51.3 million and $156.3 million a year earlier.

Silver production was up by 10 percent. The company also reported a 16 percent increase in gold reserves, Dennis E. Wheeler, president and CEO, said in a press release.

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"We believe that strong demand for silver is likely to support healthy market prices well beyond this year," he said. "Such market conditions, combined with our ongoing strategic initiatives, should enable the company to continue to generate attractive earnings and cash flows."

Coeur expects its existing mines to produce roughly 13 million ounces of silver in 2007 with a cash cost of approximately $2.35 per ounce, which would represent the lowest cash operating cost at Coeur in at least a decade.

The company also expects full-year gold production to increase roughly 17 percent to about 136,000 ounces, including approximately 21,000 ounces from the Kensington gold mine, which is expected to begin producing metal near the end of 2007. The mine is 45 miles north of downtown Juneau.

Outside the United States, Coeur has mining interests in Chile, Argentina, Australia, Tanzania, and Bolivia.

Kensington Mine:

• Estimated construction costs: $238 million, nearly $50 million more than a previous estimate.

• Why costs went up: Inflation and expenses from a lawsuit filed by Southeast Alaska Conservation Council over tailings disposal, according to the company.

• Capital expenditures: $35 million for the fourth quarter and $121.5 million for all of 2006.

• Annual production: 150,000 ounces of gold in its early years.

• Increase in mine's gold reserves: 29 percent to 1.35 million ounces within the past year.

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