LONDON Xstrata Plcs full-year mined copper output
fell 16 percent in 2012, but the company boosted production in
the second half of the year as it ramped up its various new
As Xstrata Copper transitioned from older, end-of-life
mines to new mines and expansions, planned lower volumes,
together with production issues at Collahuasi, resulted in a
16-percent reduction in total mined copper production on 2011
performance, the company said.
However, copper production progressively increased
quarter on quarter to reach an annualized production rate of
approximately 900,000 tonnes in December, as we ramped up
production at Ernest Henry, commissioned the Antamina plant
expansion, commenced production at our new Mount Margaret and
Antapaccay mines, and completed the Lomas Bayas II
project, it noted.
The development of Xstratas project pipeline peaked in
2012, with 10 major projects across the companys
commodities portfolio entering commissioning and a capital
expenditure of $7.6 billion, Xstrata chief executive officer
Mick Davis said in a statement.
Xstrata Coppers Ernest Henry Mining in Australia started
processing ore from the Mount Margaret Mine in September,
adding 30,000 tonnes per year of copper in concentrate
production to the asset, while the expansion of the Antamina
copper/zinc joint venture mine in Peru saw production there
increase by nearly 40 percent after commissioning in the first
quarter. Also in Peru, the Antapaccay Mine is expected to
produce an average of 160,000 tonnes per year of copper in
concentrate after commissioning in November.
Total production of zinc in concentrate edged higher in 2012
after an 8-percent increase at the companys Australian
operations offset lower grades in Canada and lower zinc
production at Antamina.
During the year, Xstrata Zinc successfully commissioned
the George Fisher North expansion and crushing projects, the
Lady Loretta Mine and the heavy medium separation plant at
McArthur River Mine, Xstrata said. At full
production, Lady Loretta will be delivering an estimated 1.6
million tonnes of ore per annum, while first ore was delivered
six months ahead of schedule at the 1 million tonnes per annum
mine expansion at the George Fisher zinc mine.
At our zinc business, real cost savings were achieved
through permanent cost-cutting initiatives and other production
improvements and efficiencies, Mick Davis said.
Increased volumes at our Australian operations were the
main drivers, more than compensating lower production at
Antamina, where the mine plan continues to operate in a
predominantly copper ore zone, and at our Canadian mines, where
ore reserves approach the end of their lives.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.