The Chilean-based copper mining company Antofagasta saw production drop sharply in the first three months of 2012 as maintenance work, lower ore grades and technical problem hampered activity.
Group copper production in the three months to the end of March was 162,900 tonnes, a 12.9% decrease on the three months to December, although still 25.5% up on the corresponding period of last year.
The company also has gold mining operations, but there, too, production dropped from the preceding quarter, falling from 71,800 ounces in the final quarter of 2011 to 63,500 ounces in the first quarter of 2012.
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It's fairly easy to see where things have drooped. Antofagasta's biggest mine, Los Pelambres, had to shut down for a while for planned maintenance work while Antofagasta's second biggest operation, Esperanza, saw delays caused by damage to its primary crusher's conveyor system during February and March.
At El Tesoro the company achieved record copper production of 28,200 tonnes - it would have been even better but the ore grades were lower than in previous months.
Group cash costs in the first quarter were 98.1 cents per pound of copper, a 9.0% reduction compared to the equivalent period of 2011 but broadly in line with the previous quarter of 97.3 cents per pound.
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