SINGAPORE BHP Billiton
Plcs copper output rose 8 percent in the fourth quarter
of 2012 compared with the previous quarter amid increased
production and higher ore grades at its Escondida Mine in Chile
and record output at Perus Antamina Mine.
The Olympic Dam smelter in
Australia, which had a planned outage, is expected to return to
full capacity this quarter, the company said.
Copper production stood at
295,200 tonnes for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 273,900
tonnes in the previous quarter and 5 percent higher year on
Copper in concentrate production
at Escondida increased by 70 percent for the second half of
2012 vs. the first six months of the year.
"Total Escondida copper
production is on track to increase by 20 percent in the 2013
financial year," BHP said.
Lower head grades at Cannington
in Australia led to a reduction in lead and silver production
in the quarter ended in December, the company said. Lead
production for the period was 46,135 tonnes, down 12 percent
quarter on quarter and down 31 percent year on year.
Silver production for the
quarter was 8.56 million ounces, down 7 percent from the third
quarter and down 22 percent year on year; gold production was
38,092 ounces, up 17 percent quarter on quarter but down 13
percent year on year; and zinc production was 26,209 tonnes, up
1 percent quarter on quarter but down 7 percent year on
A version of this story was
first published in AMM sister publication Metal