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SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
x QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the quarterly period ended: March 31, 2012
o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 1-14066
SOUTHERN COPPER CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Registrants telephone number, including area code: (602) 264-1375
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of large accelerated filer, accelerated filer and smaller reporting company in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No x
As of April 30, 2012 there were outstanding 849,700,000 shares of Southern Copper Corporation common stock, par value $0.01 per share.
Southern Copper Corporation (SCC)
Southern Copper Corporation
(1) Number of shares and per share amounts have been retroactively adjusted in the financial statements to reflect the effect of the 9.0 million shares paid as stock dividend on February 28, 2012.
(2) Dividends paid in the first quarter of 2012 include a cash dividend of $0.19 and a stock dividend of $0.35.
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these condensed consolidated financial statements.
Southern Copper Corporation
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these condensed consolidated financial statements.
Southern Copper Corporation
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these condensed consolidated financial statements.
Southern Copper Corporation
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these condensed consolidated financial statements.
Southern Copper Corporation
NOTE 1 DESCRIPTION OF THE BUSINESS:
In the opinion of Southern Copper Corporation, (the Company or SCC), the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements contain all adjustments (consisting only of normal recurring adjustments) necessary to state fairly the Companys financial position as of March 31, 2012 and the results of operations, comprehensive income and cash flows for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011. The results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2012 are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for the full year. The December 31, 2011 balance sheet data was derived from audited financial statements, but does not include all disclosures required by generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (GAAP). The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements at December 31, 2011 and notes included in the Companys 2011 annual report on Form 10-K.
NOTE 2 SHORT-TERM INVESTMENTS:
Short-term investments were as follows ($ in millions):
Trading securities: consist of bonds issued by public companies. Each financial instrument is independent of the others. The Company has the intention to sell these bonds in the short-term.
Available for sale investments consist of securities issued by public companies. Each security is independent of the others and, as of March 31, 2012, included corporate bonds and asset and mortgage backed obligations. As of March 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, gross unrealized gains and losses on available for sale securities were not material.
Related to these investments the Company earned interest, which was recorded as interest income in the condensed consolidated statement of earnings. Also the Company redeemed some of these securities and recognized gains (losses) due to changes in fair value, which were recorded as gain on short-term investment in the condensed consolidated statement of earnings.
The following table summarizes the activity of these investments by category (in millions):
(*) Less than $0.1 million.
NOTE 3 - INVENTORIES:
Inventories were as follows:
In the first quarter 2012 and 2011 total leaching costs capitalized as long-term inventory of leachable material amounted to $52.7 million and $25.2 million, respectively. Long-term leaching inventories recognized as cost of sales amounted to $18.4 million and $10.6 million for the first quarter 2012 and 2011, respectively.
NOTE 4 INCOME TAXES:
The income tax provision and the effective income tax rate for the first quarter 2012 and 2011 were as follows ($ in millions):
These provisions include income taxes for Peru, Mexico and the United States. The increase in the effective tax rate for the first quarter of 2012 is primarily due to the effect of the new Peruvian special mining tax (please see below).
For United States federal income tax reporting the operating results of SCC are included in the Americas Mining Corporation (AMC) U.S. federal income tax return. In accordance with paragraph 30-27 of ASC 740-10-30, current and deferred taxes are allocated to members of the AMC group as if each were a separate taxpayer. SCC provides current and deferred income taxes as if it was a separate filer.
Special Mining Tax:
In September 2011, the Peruvian government enacted a new tax for the mining industry. This tax is based on operating income and its rate ranges from 2% to 8.4%. It begins at 2% for the first 10% of operating income and for each additional 5% of operating income is increased by 0.4% until 85% of operating income is reached. The Company has accrued $11.9 million for the special mining tax as part of the income tax provision for the first quarter 2012.
Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes:
The Company files tax returns in Peru and Mexico and files a tax return in the United States as a member of the AMC consolidated group. These tax returns are examined by the tax authorities of those countries. It is reasonably possible that during the next 12 months there could be an increase of approximately $30 to $50 million in the Companys unrecognized tax benefits due to expected activity from tax examinations and audits by the tax authorities.
NOTE 5 PROVISIONALLY PRICED SALES:
At March 31, 2012, the Company has recorded provisionally priced sales of copper at average forward prices per pound, and molybdenum at the March 31, 2012 market price per pound. These sales are subject to final pricing based on the average monthly London Metal Exchange (LME), or New York Commodities Exchange (COMEX), copper prices and Dealer Oxide molybdenum prices in the future month of settlement.
Following are the provisionally priced copper and molybdenum sales outstanding at March 31, 2012:
Management believes that the final pricing of these sales will not have a material effect on the Companys financial position or results of operations.
NOTE 6 DERIVATIVE INSTRUMENTS:
As part of its risk management policy, the Company occasionally uses derivative instruments to (i) safeguard corporate assets, (ii) insure the value of its future revenue stream, and (iii) lessen the impact of unforeseen market swings of its sales revenues. To comply with these objectives the Company, from time to time, enters into commodity price derivatives, interest rate derivatives, exchange rate derivatives and other instruments. The Company does not enter into derivative contracts unless it anticipates a future activity that is likely to occur that will result in exposing the Company to market risk.
In 2011, the Company entered into copper swaps and zero cost collar derivative contracts to reduce price volatility and to protect its sales value as shown below. These transactions meet the requirements of hedge accounting. The realized gains and losses from these derivatives were recorded in net sales on the condensed consolidated statement of earnings and included in operating activities on the condensed consolidated statement of cash flow.
The following table summarizes the copper derivative activity related to copper sales transactions realized in the first quarter 2012 and 2011:
The hedge instruments are based on LME copper prices. The Company performed statistical analysis on the difference between the average monthly copper price on the LME and the COMEX exchanges and determined that the correlation coefficient is greater than 0.999. Based on this analysis, the Company considers that the LME underlying price matches its sales priced at COMEX prices. These cash flow hedge relationships qualify as critical matched terms hedge relationships and as a result have no ineffectiveness. The Company performs periodic quantitative assessments to confirm that the relationship was highly effective and that the ineffectiveness was de minimis.
As of March 31, 2012 the Company does not hold copper derivative contracts.
Transactions under these metal price protection programs are accounted for as cash flow hedges under ASC 815-30 Derivatives and Hedging-Cash Flow Hedges as they meet the requirements for this treatment and are adjusted to fair market value based on the metal prices as of the last day of the respective reporting period with the gain or loss recorded in other comprehensive income until settlement, at which time the gain or loss, if realized, is reclassified to net sales in the condensed consolidated statements of earnings.
NOTE 7 - ASSET RETIREMENT OBLIGATION:
The Company maintains an estimated asset retirement obligation for its mining properties in Peru, as required by the Peruvian Mine Closure Law. In accordance with the requirements of this law the Companys closure plans were approved by the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM). As part of the closure plans, commencing in January 2010 the Company is required to provide annual guarantees of $2.6 million over a 34 year period to furnish the funds for the asset retirement obligation. In the near-term future the Company has pledged the value of its Lima office complex as support for this obligation. The accepted value of the Lima office building, for this purpose, is $17 million. The closure cost recognized for this liability includes the cost, as outlined in its closure plans, of dismantling the Toquepala and Cuajone concentrators, the smelter and refinery in Ilo, and the shops and auxiliary facilities at the three units, including the Ilo marine trestle.
The following table summarizes the asset retirement obligation activity for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 (in millions):
NOTE 8 RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS:
Receivable and payable balances with affiliated companies are shown below (in millions):
The Company has entered into certain transactions in the ordinary course of business with parties that are controlling shareholders or their affiliates. These transactions include the lease of office space, air transportation and construction services and products and services relating to mining and refining. The Company lends and borrows funds among affiliates for acquisitions and other corporate purposes. These financial transactions bear interest and are subject to review and approval by senior management, as are all related party transactions. It is the Companys policy that the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors shall review all related party transactions. The Company is prohibited from entering or continuing a material related party transaction that has not been reviewed and approved or ratified by the Audit Committee.
The following table summarizes the purchase activity with related parties in the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 (in millions):
Grupo Mexico, the Companys ultimate parent and the majority indirect stockholder of the Company, and its affiliates provide various services to the Company. These services are primarily related to accounting, legal, tax, financial, treasury, human resources, price risk assessment and hedging, purchasing, procurement and logistics, sales and administrative and other support services. The Company pays Grupo Mexico for these services. The Company expects to continue to pay for these services in the future.
The Companys Mexican operations paid fees for freight services provided by Ferrocarril Mexicano S.A de C.V., for construction services provided by Mexico Proyectos y Desarrollo S.A. de C.V. and its affiliates and for drilling services provided by Compania Perforadora Mexico S.A.P.I. de C.V. The three companies are subsidiaries of Grupo Mexico.
The Companys Peruvian operations paid fees for engineering and consulting services provided by Consorcio Tricobre and Consorcio CESEL-CONSUTEC. Both are Peruvian consortia in which Servicios de Ingenieria Consultec, S.A. de C. V., a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico, had 42.7% and 50% participation, respectively. These consortia concluded their activities in September 2010 and September 2011, respectively.
In the first quarter of 2012, the Companys Peruvian operations paid fees for engineering and consulting services provided by Exploraciones Mineras del Peru S.A.C., a Peruvian company in which Grupo Mexico Servicios de Ingenieria, S.A. de C.V and Mexico Proyectos y Desarrollos S.A. de C. V. have a 99.97% and 0.03% participation, respectively. Both companies are subsidiaries of Grupo Mexico.
The Larrea family controls a majority of the capital stock of Grupo Mexico, and has extensive interests in other businesses, including aviation, and real estate. The Company engages in certain transactions in the ordinary course of business with other entities controlled by the Larrea family relating to the lease of office space and air transportation. In connection with this, the Company paid fees for maintenance services and sale of vehicles provided by México Compañia de Productos Automotrices, S.A. de C.V., a company controlled by the Larrea family and which is currently in liquidation.
Additionally, in 2007, the Companys Mexican subsidiaries provided guaranties for two loans obtained by Mexico Transportes Aereos, S.A. de C.V. (MexTransport), a company controlled by the Larrea family, from Bank of Nova Scotia in Mexico. One of these loans has been repaid and the remaining loan requires semi-annual repayments. Conditions and balance as of March 31, 2012 are as follows:
MexTransport provides aviation services to the Companys Mexican operations. The guaranty provided to MexTransport is backed up by the transport services provided by MexTransport to the Companys Mexican subsidiaries.
The Company purchased industrial materials from Higher Technology S.A.C and paid fees for maintenance services provided by Servicios y Fabricaciones Mecanicas S.A.C. Mr. Carlos Gonzalez, the son of SCCs Chief Executive Officer, has a proprietary interest in these companies.
The Company purchased industrial material from Sempertrans France Belting Technology, in which Mr. Alejandro Gonzalez is employed as a sales representative. Also, the Company purchased industrial material from PIGOBA, S.A. de C.V., a company in which Mr. Alejandro Gonzalez has a proprietary interest. Mr. Alejandro Gonzalez is the son of SCCs Chief Executive Officer.
The Company purchased industrial material and services from Breaker, S.A. de C.V., a company in which Mr. Jorge Gonzalez, son-in-law of SCCs Chief Executive Officer, has a proprietary interest.
The Company sold copper cathodes, rod and anodes, as well as sulfuric acid, silver, gold and lime to Asarco. In addition, the Company received fees for building rental and maintenance services provided to Mexico Proyectos y Desarrollos, S.A. de C.V. and its affiliates a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico and to Mextransport a company of the Larrea family.
The following table summarizes the sales and other revenue activity with related parties in the first quarter of 2012 and 2011(in millions):
It is anticipated that in the future the Company will enter into similar transactions with these same parties.
NOTE 9 BENEFIT PLANS:
SCC Defined Benefit Pension Plans
The components of the net periodic benefit costs for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 are as follows (in millions):
(*) amount is lower than $0.1 million
SCC Post-retirement Health Care Plan
The components of the net periodic benefit costs for the post-retirement health care plan for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 are individually, and in total, less than $0.1 million.
Minera Mexico Pension Plans
The components of the net periodic benefit costs for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 are as follows (in millions):
(*) amount is lower than $0.1 million
Minera Mexico Post-retirement Health Care Plan
The components of the net periodic benefit cost for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 are as follows (in millions):
(*) amount is lower than $0.1 million
NOTE 10 COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES:
The Company has instituted extensive environmental conservation programs at its mining facilities in Peru and Mexico. The Companys environmental programs include, among other features, water recovery systems to conserve water and minimize impact on nearby streams, reforestation programs to stabilize the surface of the tailings dams and the implementation of scrubbing technology in the mines to reduce dust emissions.
Environmental capital expenditures in the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 were as follows (in millions):
Peruvian operations: The Companys operations are subject to applicable Peruvian environmental laws and regulations. The Peruvian government, through the Environmental Ministry conducts annual audits of the Companys Peruvian mining and metallurgical operations. Through these environmental audits, matters related to environmental commitments, compliance with legal requirements, atmospheric emissions, and effluent monitoring are reviewed. The Company believes that it is in material compliance with applicable Peruvian environmental laws and regulations.
Peruvian law requires that companies in the mining industry provide for future closure and remediation. In accordance with the requirements of this law the Companys closure plans were approved by MINEM. As part of the closure plans, the Company is providing guarantees to ensure that sufficient funds will be available for the asset retirement obligation. See Note 7, Asset retirement obligation, for further discussion of this matter.
Mexican operations: The Companys operations are subject to applicable Mexican federal, state and municipal environmental laws, to Mexican official standards, and to regulations for the protection of the environment, including regulations relating to water supply, water quality, air quality, noise levels and hazardous and solid waste.
The principal legislation applicable to the Companys Mexican operations is the Federal General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (the General Law), which is enforced by the Federal Bureau of Environmental Protection (PROFEPA). PROFEPA monitors compliance with environmental legislation and enforces Mexican environmental laws, regulations and official standards. PROFEPA may initiate administrative proceedings against companies that violate environmental laws, which in the most extreme cases may result in the temporary or permanent closing of non-complying facilities, the revocation of operating licenses and/or other sanctions or fines. Also, according to the federal criminal code, PROFEPA must inform corresponding authorities regarding environmental non-compliance.
On January 28, 2011, Article 180 of the General Law was amended. This amendment, gives an individual or entity the ability to contest administrative acts, including environmental authorizations, permits or concessions granted, without the need to demonstrate the actual existence of harm to the environment, natural resources, flora, fauna or human health, because it will be sufficient to argue that the harm may be caused.
As a result of the amendment, more legal actions supported or sponsored by non-governmental groups, interested in halting projects, and not necessarily in protecting the rights of affected communities may be filed against companies operating in all industrial sectors, including the mining sector.
In addition, on August 30, 2011, amendments to the Civil Federal Procedures Code (CFPC) were published in the Official Gazette and are now in force. These amendments establish three categories of collective actions, by means of which 30 or more people claiming injury derived from environmental, consumer protection, financial services and economic competition issues will be considered to be sufficient in order to have a legitimate interest to seek through a civil procedure restitution or economic compensation or suspension of the activities from which the alleged injury derived. The amendments to the CFPC may result in more litigation, with plaintiffs seeking remedies, including suspension of the activities alleged to cause harm.
On December 5, 2011, the Mexican Senate Chamber approved the Environmental Liability Federal Law, which establishes general guidelines in order to determine which environmental actions will be considered to cause environmental harm that will give rise to administrative responsibilities (remediation or compensations) and criminal responsibilities. Also economic fines could be established. This initiative has been returned to lower chamber for discussion and voting. The law will be in force once approved by the lower chamber and signed by the President.
In March 2010, the Company announced to the Mexican federal environmental authorities the closure of the copper smelter plant at San Luis Potosi. The Company has initiated a program for plant demolition and soil remediation with a budget of $35.7 million, of which the Company has spent $25.4 million through March 31, 2012. The program is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. The Company expects that once the site is remediated, the Company will be able to promote an urban development to generate a net gain on the disposal of the property.
The Company believes that all of its facilities in Peru and Mexico are in material compliance with applicable environmental, mining and other laws and regulations.
The Company also believes that continued compliance with environmental laws of Mexico and Peru will not have a material adverse effect on the Companys business, properties, result of operations, financial condition or prospects and will not result in material capital expenditures.
Garcia Ataucuri and Others against SCCs Peruvian Branch:
In April 1996, the Branch was served with a complaint filed in Peru by Mr. Garcia Ataucuri and approximately 900 former employees seeking the delivery of a substantial number of labor shares (acciones laborales) plus dividends on such shares, to be issued to each former employee in proportion to their time of employment with SCCs Peruvian Branch.
The labor share litigation is based on claims of former employees for ownership of a portion of the labor shares that the plaintiffs state that the Branch did not issue during the 1970s until 1979 under a former Peruvian mandated profit sharing system. In 1971, the Peruvian government enacted legislation providing that mining workers would have a 10% participation in the pre-tax profits of their employing enterprises. This participation was distributed 40% in cash and 60% in an equity interest of the enterprise. In 1978, the equity portion, which was originally delivered to a mining industry workers organization, was set at 5.5% of pre-tax profits and was delivered mainly in the form of labor shares to individual workers. The cash portion was set at 4.0% of pre-tax earnings and was delivered to individual employees also in proportion to their time of employment with the Branch. In 1992, the workers participation was set at 8%, with 100% payable in cash and the equity participation was eliminated from the law.
In relation to the issuance of labor shares by the Branch in Peru, the Branch is a defendant in the following lawsuits:
1) Mr. Garcia Ataucuri seeks delivery, to himself and each of the approximately 900 former employees of the Peruvian Branch, of the 3,876,380,679.65 old soles or 38,763,806.80 labor shares (acciones laborales), as required by Decree Law 22333 (a former profit sharing law), to be issued proportionally to each former employee in accordance with the time of employment of such employee with SCCs Branch in Peru, plus dividends on such shares. The 38,763,806.80 labor shares sought in the complaint, with a face value of 100.00 old soles each, represent 100% of the labor shares issued by the Branch during the 1970s until 1979 for all of its employees during that period. The plaintiffs do not represent 100% of the Branch´s eligible employees during that period.
It should be noted that the lawsuit refers to a prior Peruvian currency called sol de oro or old soles, which was later changed to the inti, and then into today´s nuevo sol. One billion of old soles is equivalent to todays one nuevo sol.
After lengthy proceedings before the civil courts in Peru on September 19, 2001, on appeal from the Branch (the 2000 appeal), the Peruvian Supreme Court annulled the proceedings noting that the civil courts lacked jurisdiction and that the matter had to be decided by a labor court.
In October 2007, in a separate proceeding initiated by the plaintiffs, the Peruvian Constitutional Court nullified the September 19, 2001 Peruvian Supreme Court decision and ordered the Supreme Court to decide again on the merits of the case accepting or denying the Branchs 2000 appeal.
In May 2009, the Supreme Court rejected the 2000 appeal of the Branch affirming the adverse decision of the appellate civil court and lower civil court. While the Supreme Court has ordered SCCs Peruvian Branch to deliver the labor shares and dividends, it has clearly stated that SCCs Peruvian Branch may prove, by all legal means, its assertion that the labor shares and dividends were distributed to the former employees in accordance with the profit sharing law then in effect, an assertion which SCCs Peruvian Branch continues to make. None of the court decisions state the manner by which the Branch must comply with the delivery of such labor shares or make a liquidation of the amount to be paid for past dividends and interest, if any.
On June 9, 2009, SCCs Peruvian Branch filed a proceeding of relief before a civil court in Peru seeking the nullity of the 2009 Supreme Court decision and, in a separate proceeding, a request for a precautionary measure. The civil court rendered a favorable decision on the nullity and the precautionary measure, suspending the enforcement of the Supreme Court decision, for the reasons indicated above and other reasons. In February 2012, the Branch was notified that the civil court had reversed its decision regarding the nullity. The precautionary measure is still in effect. The Peruvian Branch has appealed the unfavorable decision before the superior court. In view of this, and the recent civil court decision, SCC´s Peruvian Branch continues to analyze the manner in which the Supreme Court decision may be enforced and what financial impact, if any, said decision may have.
2) In addition, there are filed against SCCs Branch the following lawsuits, involving approximately 800 plaintiffs, which seek the same number of labor shares as in the Garcia Ataucuri case, plus interest, labor shares resulting from capital increases and dividends: Armando Cornejo Flores and others v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed May 10, 2006); Alejandro Zapata Mamani and others v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed June 27, 2008); Arenas Rodriguez and others, represented by Mr. Cornejo Flores, v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed January 2009); Eduardo Chujutalli v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed May 2011); Edgardo García Ataucuri, in representation of 216 of SCCs Peruvian Branch former workers, v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed May 2011); Silvestre Macedo Condori v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed June 2011); Juan Guillermo Oporto Carpio v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed August 2011); Rene Mercado Caballero v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed November 2011); Enrique Salazar Alvarez and others v. SCCs Peruvian Branch (filed December 2011); and Indalecio Carlos Perez Cano and others v. SCC Peruvian Branch (filed March 2012). SCCs Peruvian Branch has answered the complaints and denied the validity of the claims.
SCCs Peruvian Branch asserts that the labor shares were distributed to the former employees in accordance with the profit sharing law then in effect. The Peruvian Branch has not made a provision for these lawsuits because it believes that it has meritorious defenses to the claims asserted in the complaints. Additionally, the amount of this contingency cannot be reasonably estimated by management at this time.
Exploraciones de Concesiones Metalicas S.A.C. (Excomet):
In August 2009, a lawsuit was filed against SCCs Branch by the former stockholders of Excomet. The plaintiffs allege that the acquisition of Excomets shares by the Branch is null and void because the $2 million purchase price paid by the Branch for the shares of Excomet was not fairly negotiated by the plaintiffs and the Branch. In 2005, the Branch acquired the shares of Excomet after lengthy negotiations with the plaintiffs, and after the plaintiffs, which were all of the stockholders of Excomet, approved the transaction in a general stockholders meeting. Excomet was at the time owner of a mining concession which forms part of the Tia Maria project. In October 2011, the civil court dismissed the case on the grounds that the claim had been barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff has appealed this decision before the superior court. At March 31, 2012, resolution of the appeal was pending.
Sociedad Minera de Responsabilidad Limitada Virgen Maria de Arequipa (SMRL Virgen Maria):
In August 2010, a lawsuit was filed against SCCs Branch and others by SMRL Virgen Maria, a company which until July 2003 owned the mining concession Virgen Maria, which forms part of the Tia Maria project. SMRL Virgen Maria sold this mining concession in July 2003 to Excomet (see above noted case).
The plaintiff alleges that the sale of the mining concession Virgen Maria to Excomet is null and void because the persons who attended the shareholders meeting of SMRL Virgen Maria, at which the purchase was agreed upon, were not the real owners of the shares. The plaintiff is also pursuing the nullity of all the subsequent acts regarding the mining property (acquisition of the shares of Excomet by SCCs Branch, noted above, and the sale of the concession to SCCs Branch by Excomet). On October, 2011, the civil court dismissed the case on the grounds that the claim had been barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff has appealed this decision before the superior court. At March 31, 2012, resolution of the appeal was pending.
Omar Nunez Melgar:
In May 2011, Mr. Omar Nunez Melgar commenced a lawsuit against the Peruvian Mining and Metallurgical Institute and the MINEM challenging the denial of Mr. Nunezs concession request that conflicted with SCCs Branchs Virgen Maria concession, which forms part of the Tia Maria concession. SCCs Branch has been made a party to the proceedings as the owner of the Virgen Maria concession. SCCs Branch has answered the complaint and denied the validity of the claim. As of March 31, 2012, this case remains open with no further developments.
The Company asserts that the lawsuits are without merit and is vigorously defending against these lawsuits.
Pasta de Conchos Accident:
On February 19, 2010, three widows of miners, who perished in the 2006 Pasta de Conchos accident, filed a complaint for damages in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona against the defendants, Grupo Mexico, AMC and SCC. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants purported failure to maintain a safe working environment at the mine amounted to a violation of several laws and treaties. The Company considers that the court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the plaintiffs claims and will defend itself vigorously. On April 13, 2010, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs complaint. On March 29, 2011, the District Court for the District of Arizona dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. On April 5, 2011, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal in this case. At March 31, 2012, resolution of the appeal was pending.
In recent years the Company has experienced a number of strikes or other labor disruptions that have had an adverse impact on its operations and operating results.
Peruvian Operations: Approximately 60% of the 4,264 Companys Peruvian workers were unionized at March 31, 2012, represented by eight separate unions. Three of these unions, one at each major production area, represent the majority of the Companys workers. In September 2010, the Company reached a collective bargaining agreement with these three unions which will expire on August 31, 2012. In addition, there are five smaller unions, representing the balance of the workers. Collective bargaining agreements with these unions will expire in November 2012. The Company expects that negotiations with the eight unions will likely continue throughout the first quarter of 2013.
During 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 there were no strikes.
Mexican operations: Approximately 75% of the Companys 8,034 Mexican workers were unionized at March 31, 2012, represented by three separate unions. Under Mexican law, the terms of employment for unionized workers is set forth in collective bargaining agreements. Mexican companies negotiate the salary provisions of collective bargaining agreements with the labor unions annually and negotiate other benefits every two years. The Company conducts negotiations separately at each mining complex and each processing plant.
In recent years the Buenavista mine experienced several labor stoppages. The latest labor stoppage started in July 2007 and finished in June 2010.
On June 6, 2011, the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) was awarded the collective bargaining agreement of the Buenavista del Cobres union by the Federal Board of Conciliation and Arbitration. CTM now represents around 780 workers of this mine.
Additionally, the San Martin and Taxco mines have been on strike since July 2007. On December 10, 2009, a federal court confirmed the legality of the San Martin strike. In order to recover the control of the San Martin mine and resume operations, on January 27, 2011, the Company filed a court petition requesting that the court establish the Companys responsibility for the strike and that it define the termination payment for each unionized worker. The court denied the petition alleging that according to Federal labor law, the union was the legitimate party to file the petition. On appeal by the Company, on May 13, 2011, the Mexican federal tribunal accepted the petition of the Company. In July 2011, the union appealed the favorable court decision before the Supreme Court. At March 31, 2012, resolution of the appeal was pending.
In the case of the Taxco mine, following the workers refusal to allow exploration of new reserves, the Company commenced litigation seeking to terminate the labor relationship with workers of the Taxco mine (including the related collective bargaining agreement). On September 1, 2010, the federal labor court issued a ruling approving the termination of the collective bargaining agreement and all the individual labor contracts of the workers affiliated with the Mexican mining union at the Taxco mine. The ruling was based upon the resistance of the mining union to allow the Company to search for reserves at the Taxco mine. If sustained, this ruling will also have the effect of terminating the protracted strike at the Taxco unit. The mining union appealed the labor court ruling before a federal court. In September 2011, the federal court accepted the unions appeal and requested that the federal labor court review the procedure and to take into account all the evidence to issue a new resolution. On January 3, 2012, the federal labor court again issued a new resolution, approving the termination of the collective bargaining agreement and all the individual labor contracts of the workers affiliated with the Mexican mining union at the Taxco mine. On January 25, 2012, the mining union appealed the resolution before the federal court. At March 31, 2012, the resolution of the appeal was pending.
Other legal matters:
Lemon Bay, LLP v. Americas Mining Corporation (AMC), et al.:
Three purported class action derivative lawsuits were filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery (New Castle County) late in December 2004 and early January 2005 relating to the proposed merger transaction between the Company and Minera Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (the Transaction), which was completed effective April 1, 2005. On January 31, 2005, the three actions - Lemon Bay, LLP v. AMC, et al., Civil Action No. 961-N, Therault Trust v. Luis Palomino Bonilla, et al., and Southern Peru Copper Corporation et al., Civil Action No. 969-N, and James Sousa v. Southern Peru Copper Corporation, et al., Civil Action No. 978-N were consolidated into one action, captioned. In re Southern Peru Copper Corporation Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Consol. Civil Action No. 961-N; the complaint filed by Lemon Bay was designated as the operative complaint in the consolidated lawsuit. The consolidated action purports to be brought on behalf of the Company and its common stockholders; the defendants in the consolidated action are AMC, German Larrea Mota-Velasco, Genaro
Larrea Mota-Velasco, Oscar Gonzalez Rocha, Emilio Carrillo Gamboa, Jaime Fernando Collazo Gonzalez, Xavier Garcia de Quevedo Topete, Armando Ortega Gomez and Juan Rebolledo Gout (together, the AMC Defendants), Carlos Ruiz Sacristan, Harold S. Handelsman, Gilberto Perezalonso Cifuentes, and Luis Miguel Palomino Bonilla (together, the Special Committee Defendants). The consolidated complaint alleges, among other things, that the Transaction was the result of breaches of fiduciary duties by the Companys directors and was not entirely fair to the Company and its minority stockholders. On December 21, 2010, the Court dismissed the Special Committee Defendants from the action.
On October 14, 2011, the Court issued an opinion on this action finding that SCC had paid AMC too much stock consideration in the Transaction. The Court issued a revised final order and judgment on December 29, 2011. The Court decided that the AMC Defendants were jointly and severally liable for damages in the amount of $1,347 million plus $684.6 million of pre-judgment interest. Post-judgment interest continues to accrue from October 15, 2011. The Court decided that the award is payable by AMC with cash, or with the return of a number of shares of SCC equal in value to award, or by SCC cancelling an equivalent number of shares owned by AMC, or by any combination thereof, so long as the total is equivalent to the amount of the judgment plus accrued post-judgment interest. The Court also awarded attorneys fees and expenses in the amount of $304.7 million, or 15% of the judgment, plus post-judgment interest, payable by SCC out of the award and not from existing SCCs cash.
On January 20, 2012, the AMC defendants appealed the Courts decisions. On the same date, SCC appealed the Courts decision related to the award of attorneys fees and expenses.
Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System et al. v. SCC:
Four purported class action derivative lawsuits have been filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery (Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System et al. v. SCC et al., Gary Martin et al. v. SCC et al., Thomas Griffin et al. v. SCC et al., and Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan of Northern California et al. v. SCC et al.) from August 2010 to October 2010 relating to the proposed combination of the Company with AMC, the parent company of Asarco. The complaints name SCC, its current and certain former directors, AMC and Grupo Mexico as defendants. Two of the actions also name Asarco as a defendant. The actions purport to be brought on behalf of the Companys common stockholders.
The complaints allege, among other things, that the proposed transaction would result in breaches of fiduciary duties by the defendants and is not entirely fair to the Company and its minority stockholders. The complaints seek, among other things, a preliminary and permanent injunction to enjoin the transaction, the award of damages to the plaintiffs and the class, and such other relief that the court deems equitable, including interest, attorneys and experts fees and costs. On October 28, 2011, AMC announced that it had withdrawn the proposed transaction to combine AMC and Southern Copper. The defendants believe that these lawsuits are without merit and are defending against the actions.
The Company is involved in various other legal proceedings incidental to its operations, but the Company does not believe that decisions adverse to it in any such proceedings, individually or in the aggregate, would have a material effect on its financial position or results of operations. Additionally, the Company does not believe that the outcome of the purported class action derivative lawsuits would have a material adverse effect on its financial position or results of operations. While the defendants, including Grupo Mexico and its affiliates, believe that the claims in the purported class action derivative lawsuits are without merit, the Company cannot assure you that these or future claims, if successful, will not have an adverse effect on Grupo Mexico, AMC or the Company.
Tia Maria, an over $1.0 billion Peruvian investment project, was suspended by governmental action in April 2011 in light of protests and disruptions carried out by a small group of activists who alleged, among other things, that the project would result in severe environmental contamination and the diversion of agricultural water resources.
The Company has decided to prepare a new EIA study that is taking into account local community concerns, new government guidance and observations from the United Nations Organism hired by MINEM for this purpose. The Company considers that this new EIA process will alleviate all the concerns previously raised by the Tia Maria projects neighboring communities, provide them with an independent source of information and reaffirm the validity of the Companys assessment of the project. The Company is confident that this initiative will have a positive effect on its stakeholders and will allow the Company to obtain the approval for the development of the 120,000 ton annual production copper project. As a consequence, the project start-up is now rescheduled to 2015. While the new EIA is in process, some of the equipment purchased for Tia Maria is being assigned to our operations at Toquepala, Cuajone and Buenavista.
The Company has legal and valid title to the Tía Maria mining concessions and the over-lapping surface land in the area. None of above noted activities have in any way challenged, revoked, impaired or annulled the Company´s legal rights to the Tia Maria mining concessions and/or the over-lapping surface land titles acquired in the past. All the Companys property rights on these areas are in full force.
In view of the suspension of this project, the Company has reviewed the carrying value of this asset to ascertain whether impairment exists. Total spending on the project, through March 31, 2012, is $401.1 million. As the project is currently suspended, some of the equipment is being used at the Companys mining operations at Toquepala and Cuajone. Should the Tia Maria project not be restarted, the Company is confident that the project equipment will continue to be used productively, through reassignment to other mine locations operated by the Company. While the Company may incur additional costs due to the delay, it believes that an impairment loss, if any, will not be material.
Power purchase agreement
In 1997, SCC sold its Ilo power plant to an independent power company, Enersur S.A. (Enersur). In connection with the sale, a power purchase agreement was also completed under which SCC agreed to purchase all of its power needs for its current Peruvian operations from Enersur for twenty years, commencing in 1997.
The Company signed in 2009 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Enersur regarding its power supply agreement. The MOU contains new economic terms that the Company believes better reflect current economic conditions in the power industry and in Peru. The new economic conditions agreed to in the MOU have been applied by Enersur to its invoices to the Company since May 2009. Additionally, the MOU includes an option for providing power for the Tia Maria project. During 2010 and 2011, the Company continued its negotiation with Enersur. However, due to the delay at the Tia Maria project the final agreement was put on hold, see caption Tia Maria above.
Tax contingency matters:
Tax contingencies are provided for under ASC 740-10-50-15 Uncertain tax positions (see Note 4, Income taxes).
NOTE 11 SEGMENT AND RELATED INFORMATION:
Company management views Southern Copper as having three reportable segments and manages on the basis of these segments. The reportable segments identified by the Company are: the Peruvian operations, the Mexican open pit operations and the Mexican underground mining operations segment identified as the IMMSA unit.
The three reportable segments identified are groups of mines, each of which constitute an operating segment, with similar economic characteristics, type of products, processes and support facilities, similar regulatory environments, similar employee bargaining contracts and similar currency risks. In addition, each mine within the individual group earns revenues from similar type of customers for their products and services and each group incurs expenses independently, including commercial transactions between groups.
Financial information is regularly prepared for each of the three segments and the results of the Companys operations are regularly reported to the Chief Operating Officer on the segment basis. The Chief Operating Officer of the Company focuses on operating income and on total assets as measures of performance to evaluate different segments and to make decisions to allocate resources to the reported segments. These are common measures in the mining industry.
Financial information relating to Southern Coppers segments is as follows:
NOTE 12 STOCKHOLDERS´EQUITY:
Activity in treasury stock in the three-month period ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 is as follows (in millions):
On February 28, 2012, the Company paid a stock dividend of 0.0107 shares of common stock per share of SCC common stock. The stock dividend was paid with shares of common stock held in treasury by SCC. Shares held in the treasury on the record date were not entitled to receive dividends.
Parent Company common share:
Employee Stock Purchase Plan:
In January 2007, the Company offered to eligible employees a stock purchase plan (the Employee Stock Purchase Plan) through a trust that acquires shares of Grupo Mexico stock for sale to its employees, employees of subsidiaries, and certain affiliated companies. The purchase price is established at the approximate fair market value on the grant date. Every two years employees will be able to acquire title to 50% of the shares paid in the previous two years. The employees will pay for shares purchased through monthly payroll deductions over the eight year period of the plan. At the end of the eight year period, the Company will grant the participant a bonus of 1 share for every 10 shares purchased by the employee.
If Grupo Mexico pays dividends on shares during the eight year period, the participants will be entitled to receive the dividend in cash for all shares that have been fully purchased and paid as of the date that the dividend is paid. If the participant has only partially paid for shares, the entitled dividends will be used to reduce the remaining liability owed for purchased shares.
In the case of voluntary resignation of the employee, the Company will pay to the employee the fair market sales price at the date of resignation of the fully paid shares, net of costs and taxes. When the fair market sales value of the shares is higher than the purchase price, the Company will apply a deduction over the amount to be paid to the employee based on the following schedule:
In the case of involuntary termination of the employee, the Company will pay to the employee the fair market sales price at the date of termination of employment of the fully paid shares, net of costs and taxes. When the fair market value of the shares is higher than the purchase price, the Company will apply a deduction over the amount to be paid to the employee based on the following schedule:
In case of retirement or death of the employee, the Company will render the buyer or his legal beneficiary, the fair market sales value as of the date of retirement or death of the shares effectively paid, net of costs and taxes.
For the first quarter 2012 and 2011, the stock based compensation expense under the Employee Stock Purchase Plan was $0.5 million in both periods. As of March 31, 2012, there was $5.9 million of unrecognized compensation expense under this plan, which is expected to be recognized over the remaining two year and nine month period.
The following table presents the stock award activity of the Employee Stock Purchase Plan for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011:
During 2010, the Company offered to eligible employees a new stock purchase plan (the New Employee Stock Purchase Plan) through a trust that acquires series B shares of Grupo Mexico stock for sale to its employees, employees of subsidiaries, and certain affiliated companies. The purchase price was established at 26.51 Mexican pesos (approximately $2.05) for the initial subscription. The terms of the New Employee Stock Purchase Plan are similar to the terms of the Employee Stock Purchase Plan.
For the first quarter 2012 and 2011, the stock based compensation expense under the new Employee stock purchase plan was $0.1 million in both periods. At March 31, 2012, there was $3.7 million of unrecognized compensation expense under this plan, which is expected to be recognized over the remaining six year and nine month period.
The following table presents the stock award activity of the New Employee Stock Purchase Plan for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011:
NOTE 13 NON-CONTROLLING INTEREST
The following table presents the non-controlling interest activity for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011:
NOTE 14 FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS:
Subtopic 810-10 of ASC Fair value measurement and disclosures Overall establishes a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value. The hierarchy gives the highest priority to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1 measurements) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3 measurements). The three levels of the fair value hierarchy under Subtopic 810-10 are described below:
Level 1 - Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets that are accessible at the measurement date for identical, unrestricted assets or liabilities.
Level 2 - Inputs that are observable, either directly or indirectly, but do not qualify as Level 1 inputs. (i.e., quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities).
Level 3 - Prices or valuation techniques that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable (i.e., supported by little or no market activity).
The carrying amounts of certain financial instruments, including cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable (other than accounts receivable associated with provisionally priced sales) and accounts payable approximate fair value due to their short maturities. Consequently, such financial instruments are not included in the following table that provides information about the carrying amounts and estimated fair values of other financial instruments that are not measured at fair value in the condensed consolidated balance sheet as of March 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011 (in millions):
Long-term debt is carried at amortized cost and its estimated fair value is based on quoted market prices classified as Level 1 in the fair value hierarchy. The Mitsui loan is based on the present value of the cash flow discounted at 10%, which is the Companys weighted average cost of capital.
Fair values of assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis were calculated as follows as of March 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011:
The Companys short-term trading securities investments are classified as Level 1 because they are valued using quoted prices of the same securities.
The Companys short-term available-for-sale investments are classified as Level 2 because they are valued using quoted prices for similar investments. The Company classifies investments within Level 3 of the valuation hierarchy in certain cases where there is limited activity or less observable inputs to the valuation. These investments are valued by the funds management advisor taking into consideration different factors and methodologies considered appropriate in the circumstance. Factors can include the following or a combination of the following observed transactions, broker quotes, cash flow analysis, vendor prices and other factors, as appropriate.
Derivatives are valued using financial models that use as their basis readily observable market inputs, such as time value, forward interest rates, volatility factors, and current and forward market prices for foreign exchange rates and a set of probabilities. The Company generally classifies these instruments within Level 2 of the valuation hierarchy. Such derivatives at March 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, include zero cost collars.
The Companys accounts receivables associated with provisionally priced copper sales are valued using quoted market prices based on the forward price on the LME or on the COMEX. Such value is classified within Level 1 of the fair value hierarchy. Molybdenum prices are established by reference to the publication Platts Metals Week and are considered Level 1 in the fair value hierarchy.
There were no changes in the fair value of the Companys Level 3 short-term investments (corporate bond, asset backed obligations, and mortgage backed securities) in the first quarter 2012 and 2011.
NOTE 15 SUBSEQUENT EVENTS:
On April 23, 2012, the Board of Directors authorized a quarterly cash dividend of 53 cents per share payable on May 24, 2012, to SCC shareholders of record at the close of business on May 11, 2012.
The following discussion provides information that management believes is relevant to an assessment and understanding of the consolidated financial condition and results of operations of Southern Copper Corporation and its subsidiaries (collectively, SCC, the Company, our, and we). This item should be read in conjunction with our interim unaudited Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto included in this quarterly report. Additionally, the following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II of our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.
Business: Our business is primarily the production and sale of copper. In the process of producing copper, a number of valuable metallurgical by-products are recovered, which we also produce and sell. Market forces outside of our control largely determine the sale prices for our products. Our management, therefore, focuses on value creation through copper production, cost control, production enhancement and maintaining a prudent capital structure to remain profitable. We endeavor to achieve these goals through capital spending programs, exploration efforts and cost reduction programs. Our aim is to remain profitable during periods of low copper prices and to maximize financial performance in periods of high copper prices.
We are one of the worlds largest copper mining companies in terms of production and sales with our principal operations in Peru and Mexico. We also have an active ongoing exploration program in Chile and in 2011 we have started exploration activities in Argentina and Ecuador. In addition to copper we produce significant amounts of other metals, either as a by-product of the copper process or in a number of dedicated mining facilities in Mexico.
Outlook: Various key factors will affect our outcome. These include, but are not limited to, some of the following:
· Changes in copper and molybdenum prices. The average copper price was $3.77 per pound in the first quarter of 2012 about 13.9% lower than in the first quarter of 2011. Average molybdenum and zinc prices in the first quarter of 2012 decreased 17.9% and 15.6%, respectively, over average prices in the first quarter of 2011. Average silver price was $32.69 per ounce in the first quarter of 2012, about 3% higher than in the first quarter of 2011. However, copper prices as well as prices for our main by-products continued to improve during the first quarter of 2012 compared with the fourth quarter 2011. During the first quarter of 2012 per pound LME spot copper prices ranged from $3.39 to $3.93 and averaged $3.77, as compared to an average of $3.40 in the last quarter 2011. The LME spot price for copper closed at $3.85 per pound on March 31, 2012.
· Sales structure. In the first quarter of 2012 approximately 77% of our revenue came from the sale of copper, 8% from molybdenum, 7% from silver and 8% from various other products, including zinc, gold and other materials.
· Metals market: During the first quarter 2012 the metal markets continued to be driven by negative macroeconomic events that disturbed consumer expectations, probably the biggest concern is the European recession and debt crisis. Even though we believe copper fundamentals are sound for 2012, demand is negatively influenced by this macro outlook.
At this point we perceive a different situation between the Asian and the developed markets. In China, several sources point to a growth in demand of approximately 7 to 8% for this year and inventories have increased to a level that may reduce Chinese copper imports for the remainder of 2012. In the US and Europe, inventories are extremely tight and we see them increasing to more normal levels over the next 12 months, particularly in the United States.
Demand from emerging economies is also growing at a good pace, offsetting the weaker consumption in the European and American markets. It is estimated that there will be a total refined copper demand growth of 2.6% for 2012, or approximately 500,000 tons of additional refined copper. On the supply side, production has underperformed badly in 2011 due to labor unrest,
power shortages, weather conditions and ore grade declines. We see these events continuing in 2012, maintaining a tightness in the copper market. Several sources indicate a market deficit of around 550,000 tons for the year.
Regarding molybdenum our main by-product, even though we saw a 4% molybdenum demand growth in 2011, we are still in a surplus market in this metal. We expect that in 2012 the balance between supply and demand will decrease the current market surplus, thereby improving market prices in the near future. Molybdenum is mainly used for the production of special alloys of stainless steel that require significant hardness, corrosion and heat resistance. Another relatively new usage of this metal is in lubricants and sulfur filtering of heavy oils.
· Production. We maintain our 2012 production guidance of 640,000 tons of copper, which includes 5% of copper purchased from third parties. We expect molybdenum production in 2012 to be about 17,200 tons while zinc and silver production should be around the same level as 2011.
· Capital Expenditures. In the first quarter 2012, we spent $177 million on capital expenditures and we will continue with our capital investment projects at the Buenavista mine, as well as at the Toquepala and Cuajone expansions. In addition, in the first quarter of 2012 we spent $8.7 million on our exploration programs.
Tantahuatay mine: The Tantahuatay mine is located in Cajamarca, in northern Peru. Production started in August 2011 and we have received our first dividend in the first quarter of 2012. Tantahuatay is expected to have an annual production of 105,000 ounces of gold and 592,000 ounces of silver in 2012. The board of directors of Tantahuatay have approved a $55 million capital budget program for 2012. We have a 44.25% participation in this mine.
We discuss below several matters that we believe are important to understand our results of operations and financial condition. These matters include, (i) our earnings, (ii) our production, (iii) our operating cash costs as a measure of our performance, (iv) metal prices, (v) business segments, (vi) the effect of inflation and other local currency issues, and (vi) our capital investment and exploration program.
Earnings: We had first quarter sales of $1.8 billion and net income of $621 million, 12.7% and 29.9% higher than the first quarter of 2011. We achieved these results because of the higher volume of copper production and sales, as well as higher production and sales of our main by-products, despite the lower copper, molybdenum and zinc prices in the 2012 period.
Our focus is on value creation. We want to optimize the net present value of our assets investing in our organic growth. We are continuing our efforts to maximize copper production, maintaining one of the most competitive cost structures in our industry and concentrating on moving forward with our expansion projects. In the first quarter of 2012 we spent $177 million on our capital projects and $8.7 million on our exploration programs.
We are very positive about the long-term prospects of our business. We believe that we are well positioned for the challenges of 2012. We are in a very strong financial position and, our cash flows are well in excess of our capital spending plans, which allows us to deal with market volatility and continue our aggressive plan of expansion.
The table below highlights key financial and operational data of our Company for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011: