Bloomberg News

Antofagasta Copper Production Rises 17% on Esperanza Volumes

November 02, 2011

(Updates shares in fifth paragraph.)

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Antofagasta Plc, the copper miner controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, reported a 17 percent jump in third-quarter output on increased production from the Esperanza mine.

Output climbed to 165,000 metric tons from 140,700 tons a year earlier and 158,700 tons in the second quarter. Volumes of molybdenum, used to harden steel, totaled 2,400 tons, compared with 2,200 tons a year earlier and 2,600 tons the prior quarter.

Antofagasta, which plans to increase copper output by as much as 23 percent to 640,000 tons this year, began sales from its Esperanza mine in Chile in January amid rising demand and prices for the metal used in cables and pipes.

Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange averaged 419.8 cents a pound in the first nine months of the year, 15 percent higher than a year earlier, the London-based company said today in a statement. Molybdenum fell to 16.2 cents a pound from 17 cents.

Antofagasta advanced 5.4 percent to 1,174 pence at the close in London.

The company raised copper production from Esperanza by 15 percent to 25,200 tons from the previous three months. Antofagasta achieved an average ore throughput of more than 80,000 tons per day at Esperanza from August to September.

Nine Months

Copper production in the first nine months of 2011 rose 15 percent to 453,500 tons, reflecting the contribution from Esperanza. Antofagasta also boosted copper output at Los Pelambres, its largest mine, as the concentration of metal in ore increased.

Cash costs, excluding by-product gains, fell to 155.1 cents a pound in the third quarter from 159.4 cents in the second.

“The costs are marginally below our forecast of 158 cents per pound,” said Abhi Shukla, a London-based analyst at Societe Generale. “Antofagasta may report marginally lower full-year cash costs than its latest guidance of 160 cents per pound.”

The company also raised gold production to 54,300 ounces from 48,600 ounces in the previous three months.

--Editors: Stephen Cunningham, Amanda Jordan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net


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