Higher production at its Esperanza mine helped Chilean copper miner Antofagasta increase output in the third quarter.
Group copper production was 179,800 tonnes in the third quarter (Q3), bringing the total for the first nine months of the year to 515,800 tonnes. Production was up 3.8% quarter-on-quarter, while the year-to-date total is up 11.5% compared with the first nine months of 2011.
Copper production for the whole of 2012 is still expected to be in the region of 700,000 tonnes.
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Gold production was 77,400 ounces in Q3 and 213,500 ounces in the first nine months of 2012 compared with 72,600 ounces in the previous quarter and 125,000 ounces in the first nine months of 2011. Improved output of gold also reflected the higher throughput at Esperanza.
Molybdenum production at Los Pelambres was 3,000 tonnes in Q3 2012 and 9,500 tonnes in the first nine months of 2012. The 30.1% increase in production in the first nine months of 2012 compared to 2011 reflects the particularly high molybdenum grades in the current year.
Group cash costs (net of by-product credits) in the third quarter were 99.3 cents per pound, in line with the previous quarter's costs. Cash costs excluding by-product credits decreased slightly to 157.1 cents per pound in Q3 2012 compared with 158.2 cents in the previous quarter.
Group cash costs (net of by-product credits) in the first nine months of 2012 were 99.0 cents per pound, a 4.7 cent decrease compared with 103.7 cents per pound in the first nine months of 2011. This decrease mainly reflected an increase in by-product credits as a result of the higher gold production at Esperanza as well as to a lesser extent increased molybdenum production at Los Pelambres.
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