Antofagasta steps it up

A decline in copper and molybdenum prices partially offset the benefits of increased volumes at Chilean miner Antofagasta in the first nine months of 2012.

A decline in copper and molybdenum prices partially offset the benefits of increased volumes at Chilean miner Antofagasta in the first nine months of 2012.

Group turnover in the nine months to the end of September rose 16.3% to $4,862.4m from $4,172.9m the year before. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 13.0% to $2,832.3m from $2,505.5m.

Copper volumes in the reporting period were up 13.7% year-on-year but the realised copper price slipped to 374.1 cents from 378.0 cents the year before.

Molybdenum production volumes rose to 9,500 tonnes from 7,300 tonnes in the first nine months of 2011, while market molybdenum prices averaged $13.30 in the reporting period, well down from $16.20 in the same period of 2011.

Gold production volumes surged to 213,500 ounces from 125,000 ounces the year before, while market gold prices improved, hitting an average of $1,651.30 during the first nine months of 2012 versus $1,534.40 in the first nine months of 2011. In fact, Antofagasta's own sales of gold realised a slightly higher average price, at $1,668.40 an ounce.

Weighted average cash costs for the group increased slightly from 142.5 cents per pound in the first nine months of last year to 146.4 cents per pound this time round.

Net cash costs including by-product credits (which are reported as part of revenue) were 99.0 cents per pound, compared with 103.7 cents per pound in the first nine months of 2011, with the higher gold sales volumes offsetting the increased operating costs.

At the end of September the group had cash, cash equivalents and liquid investments of $3,876.8m, up from $3,280.0m at the end of 2011. Excluding the minority share in each partly-owned operation, the group's attributable share of total cash and cash equivalents was $3,508.9m, up from the end-2011 figure of $3,041.1m.

Total group borrowings at September 30th were $1,911.8m versus $2,140.3m at the end of 2011. Of this, $1,306.2m is proportionally attributable to the group after excluding the minority shareholdings in partly-owned operations; at the end of 2011, the attributable figure was $1,456.3m.

JH

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