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Kazakhmys hits targets but warns of flat copper production in 2013

Kazakh copper-focused miner Kazakhmys said on Thursday that it had hit production targets across all asset classes in 2012, but warned that copper output would be flat this year.

Kazakh copper-focused miner Kazakhmys said on Thursday that it had hit production targets across all asset classes in 2012, but warned that copper output would be flat this year.

"We have met our production targets for the fifth consecutive year, and I would like to thank all of my colleagues for helping us to achieve this exceptional result," said Chief Executive Officer Oleg Novachuk.

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The company, which is the largest copper producer in Kazakhstan and one of the biggest worldwide, said copper cathode production from own concentrate totalled 292.2 thousand tonnes (kt) last year, 2.0% below 2011 which benefited from a release of work in progress, but in line with guidance of 285-295kt.

Ore output during the year rose 12% to 37,507kt, helped by the recommission of the Konyrat mine in June and a full year of output from the reopened Akbastau mine. However, this was partly offset by a decline in average copper grades of 0.95%, though this was expected.

"Copper production in 2013 should remain at a similar level to 2012 and annual sales contracts for the year have already been signed, Novachuk said.

Elsewhere, the company said that by-product output of zinc and gold met forecasts while silver production exceeded guidance due to a higher-than-anticipated grade.

Kazakhmys Power, which owns a 50% stake in the coal-fired Ekibastuz GRES-1 plant, said that net power generated at the plant increased by 13% during 2012, "supported by continuing growth in demand and increase in available capacity".

The commissioning of a sixth unit at the plant was completed in the final quarter of last year, boosting capacity by 20% to 3,000MW.

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