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Antofagasta reports 11% drop in first-quarter output

By Benjamin Chiou

Date: Wednesday 17 Apr 2024

Antofagasta reports 11% drop in first-quarter output

(Sharecast News) - Copper miner Antofagasta said output fell in the first quarter due to lower grades and maintenance activities at two of its main projects, while the cost of production rose.
Copper production totalled 129,400 tonnes in the first three months of 2024, down 11% on the previous year.

The decline was mainly due to lower grades and increased ore hardness at Centinela, as expected, as well as maintenance and cleaning activities on the Los Pelambres concentrate pipeline that delayed moving concentrate to port facilities. Some 27,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate from the latter project will be rescheduled into future quarters as production and sales, the company said.

Meanwhile, gold production fell 21% year-on-year to 33,300 tonnes as a result of lower gold grades at Centinela and the delay in moving material through the Los Pelambres concentrate pipeline. Molybdenum output rose 8% to 2,700 tonnes due to production at Los Pelambres, where operations were unaffected by recent maintenance.

Cash costs before by-product credits averaged $2.67 a pound, up 7% year-on-year, due to lower production at Centinela and Los Pelambres. Compared with the fourth quarter, cash costs were up 29%.

Looking ahead, the company held on to production guidance for the year, expecting 670,000 to 710,000 tonnes of copper as output picks up over the coming quarters. Cash cost guidance was also unchanged at between $2.25 a pound before by-product credits.

"Following approval of the relevant Environmental Impact Assessment for Los Pelambres, preparations are underway to commence construction work to double the capacity of the existing desalination plant and build a new concentrate pipeline, both of which will serve as key enablers for further growth," said chief executive Iván Arriagada.

"As we move toward further global electrification, Antofagasta is in a strong position to provide a growing supply of responsibly produced copper and creating value for all our stakeholders."

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