Earnings season is now starting to wind down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and Thompson Creek Metals (NYSE:TC) is about to release its quarterly earnings report. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarter reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

The mining industry has suffered from the global economic slowdown, and Thompson Creek Metals has faced many of the same challenges that other mining companies have had to deal with. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Thompson Creek Metals over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report next Monday.

Stats on Thompson Creek Metals

Analyst EPS Estimate


Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$105.7 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Thompson Creek Metals hit pay dirt this quarter?
Analysts aren't very optimistic about Thompson Creek, with their consensus loss expectations having widened in the past few months and with their having slashed full-year 2013 earnings-per-share calls by 40%. But the stock hasn't reflected those concerns, with shares having bounced more than 35% since mid-November.

As a major molybdenum maker, Thompson Creek has fallen prey to the same trends in the steel market that have held back other molybdenum companies. Taseko Mines (NYSEMKT:TGB) and Southern Copper (NYSE:SCCO) have both suffered from low molybdenum prices, even though both have copper exposure that have sheltered them from the full extent of the blow. With molybdenum prices having plunged by 70% since their 2005 highs, Thompson Creek had to shut down the mining portion of its Endako project last August, although it was able to keep its newly completed mill running. Moreover, with expectations from industry players for prices to remain low, Thompson Creek may have to close its Idaho mining operations as well.

But where Thompson Creek hopes to transform its business is with its Mt. Milligan mine. Facing cost overruns, the company had to enter a gold-streaming arrangement with Royal Gold (NASDAQ:RGLD) in order to finance its construction. With estimates of 6 million ounces of gold and 2.1 billion pounds of copper, the project has huge potential and would greatly diversify Thompson's exposure away from molybdenum.

In Thompson's earnings report, watch closely for the latest progress report on Mt. Milligan. With so much riding on the mine, Thompson needs the project to go well in order to get it out of its share-price doldrums.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.