Antofagasta’s Gold and Copper Production Falls

on May 31, 2012

The first three months of 2012 have been difficult for the Chilean focused mining company Antofagasta. The company saw a significant drop in its production of both copper and gold. For the first quarter of 2012 copper production was recorded at 162,900 tonnes, a 12.9% decrease on the final quarter of 2011. The decrease in gold production was similar at nearly 12%.

Antofagasta’s troubles are explained by the fact that its biggest operations have encountered technical problems that prevented them from operating at full capacity. In a recent press release the company reported its production for the first quarter and announced the amounts forecasted for 2012 and future projects.Chilean mining company Antofagasta has been experiencing some difficulties lately. For the first quarter of 2012 the company reported a significant drop in copper and gold production, compared to the previous quarter. The numbers show that the 162,900 tonnes produced during the first three months of the year represent a 12.9% decrease on the three months to December. This is still a 25.5 percent increase on the corresponding period last year, but the company explains that with the fact that Esperanza, its second biggest mine, had just started operation in Q1, 2011.!m[](/uploads/story/10/thumbs/gold_in_rock_inline.png)The situation with regards to Antofagasta’s gold production is similar, having dropped from 71,800 ounces in Q4 of 2011 to 63,500 ounces for the first three months of 2012.

The main reason behind this production fall was the occurance of some technical problems and the need of maintenance work in the company’s biggest mines – Los Pelambres and Esperanza. The damage to Esperanza’s primary crusher’s conveyor system has been particularly damaging to production, causing delays in Antofagasta’s second biggest operation during February and March.

The company also had positives to report from the first quarter of 2012. Its Quarterly Production Report shows that the El Tesoro mine achieved a record copper production of 28,200 tonnes in Q1, a 2.9 percent increase compared with 27,400 in the previous quarter. Molybdenum production in Los Pelambres also saw an increase – 3,100 tonnes, 19.2 percent higher than Q4 2011.

Despite being primarily a mining company, Antofagasta has also interests in transport and water distribution and the company’s operations in these areas have maintained their strong performances in 2012. The transport division showed solid numbers with 1.9 million tones transported, which is in line with the figures for 2011. On the other hand, Antofagasta’s water distribution business reached new heights with 13.0 million cubic meters or a 3.3 percent increase on the final quarter of 2011.

The future plans of the company are mainly related to the Antucoya project, which is a copper oxide deposit. It’s expected to produce an average of 80,000 tonnes of copper cathodes per year with production starting in 2014. Pa Antofagasta is partnered in this project by Marubeni Production, which will acquire a 30 percent share. A definitive agreement between Antofagasta and Marubeni was signed on April 19th, 2012.


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