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Turquoise Hill books higher net income, concentrate output in Q1

Rio Tinto-controlledTurquoise Hill Resources Ltd.said May 5 that its net income attributable to owners in the first quarter wentup to US$118.9 million, or 6 cents per share, from US$96.2 million, or 4 cents per share, in the previous year.

Net income rose despite lower revenue — the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia recordedrevenue of US$422.7 million on sales of 213,100 tonnes of copper-gold concentrateversus revenue of US$426.2 million on sales of 167,700 tonnes in the same quarterin 2015 — as the first quarter of 2015 was impacted by a noncash impairment reversalcredit of US$35.2 million related to the company's SouthGobi Resources Ltd. investment.

As of March 31, cash and cash equivalents were approximatelyUS$1.5 billion.

Total concentrates produced were 229,500 tonnes at an averagegrade of 25.1% copper, up year over year from 130,900 tonnes grading 25.7% copper.

Copper output improved from the previous year to 57,600 tonnesfrom 33,600 tonnes. Gold and silver production likewise increased to 144,000 ouncesand 395,000 ounces, respectively, from 86,000 ounces and 184,000 ounces.

All-in sustaining costs decreased to 62 cents per pound of copperproduced from 96 cents per pound.

Given stronger-than-expected gold production during the quarter,reflecting mine access to more of the high-grade gold benches in phase two of theopen pit, Turquoise Hill increased this year's gold in concentrate guidance to 255,000ounces to 285,000 ounces, from 210,000ounces to 260,000 ounces. Mining of the phase two gold core will becompleted in the second quarter.

The company maintained Oyu Tolgoi's guidance of 175,000 tonnesto 195,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates.

Sales contracts have been signed for about 95% of Oyu Tolgoi'sexpected concentrate production this year.

The capital estimate of the 2016 feasibility study for the minewas completed in the first quarter, with Turquoise Hill expecting to receive thedecision to proceed with Oyu Tolgoi's underground construction, which had been in August 2013 pending resolutionof the matter with the Mongolian government, in the second quarter.