Atalaya's Proyecto Riotinto reached its target capacity of 9.5m tonnes per annum (mtpa) during a single run of 10 consecutive days this month, treating on average 28,685 dry metric tonnes a day.
The current rates "are enough to give comfort that the planned 9.5mtpa will be achieved during 2017", Atalaya said in a statement.
Production guidance for 2017 is forecast to be in the range of 34,000 to 40,000 tonnes of copper which, at current copper prices, is expected to generate positive operating cash flows for the company.
Earlier this month, Atalaya's chief executive Alberto Lavandeira told City A.M. the mining group will reap the rewards of higher copper prices, which rose from $225 per pound in early November to $268 by the end of the month.
“The largest consumer is China, and after some period of slowdown in growth it is picking up again. More people in the world means more copper is needed – everybody wants a house, better living conditions. Higher living standards in general require more copper.”
Lavandeira said today:
We are pleased to report that Proyecto Riotinto has achieved its nameplate capacity in record time.
We look forward to sustained levels of production at Proyecto Riotinto in 2017 and beyond and we will continue to look for ways to optimise our operations.
Atalaya is aiming to acquire another mine, or a company with a mine, next year, and another in 2018.