Why the Western Areas (ASX:WSA) share price is on watch

The Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA) share price will be on watch this morning following a preliminary production update. Here’s the details.

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The Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA) share price is on watch this morning following a preliminary production update. At yesterday’s market wrap, the nickel producer’s shares closed the day $2.13.

Let’s take a closer look and see how Western Areas performed for the stated period.

How did Western Areas perform?

Western Areas share price could be on the move today after the company delivered a robust performance for the March quarter.

In its announcement, Western Areas reported a significant improvement in both mine and milled physicals at its Forrestania operations in Western Australia. The company mined 4,236 Ni tonnes, resulting in strong nickel (Ni) in concentrate production. This reflected an increase of up to 20% quarter-on-quarter.

Western Areas achieved a grade of 3.6% Ni in total of the mined ore, representing a gain of up to 27% quarter-on-quarter.

Nickel produced in concentrate of 4,267 Ni tonnes, lifting 21% quarter-on-quarter due to higher mined grades and mill recoveries.

Words from the management

Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher commented:

As previously flagged to the market, we re-entered the higher-grade areas of the Flying Fox mine this quarter, and saw improved mined nickel grades from Spotted Quoll.

This result was setup by the significant development and rehabilitation of existing ore drives achieved during the previous December quarter, which allowed access to and mining of higher-grade ore tonnes in the March quarter.

The company stated that it remained focused on continuing the positive momentum into the final quarter of FY21. It expects that the development and rehabilitation work already undertaken will help contribute to attaining that goal.

Western Areas share price snapshot

The Western Areas share price is marginally higher, around 4%, over the past 12 months. However, the company’s shares have fallen close to 20% year-to-date, notably treading lower since the beginning of last month.

Based on current valuations, Western Areas commands a market capitalisation of roughly $670.2 million, with 314.6 million shares outstanding.

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Motley Fool contributor Aaron Teboneras has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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