Antofagasta cuts targets despite jump in profit

CHILEAN miner Antofagasta trimmed its annual production target yesterday after posting a near doubling in first-half profit on higher production and a rebound in prices.

“Group copper production from the three operating mines is expected to be approximately 530,000 tonnes, slightly below the forecast of 543,000 tonnes announced in March,” a statement said.

The weaker production forecast is due to delays in launching a mine expansion at its biggest mine, Los Pelambres, following an earthquake in February and lower grades at El Tesoro.

Shares in the FTSE 100 firm closed down 1.5 per cent at £10.12 yesterday.

The shares have climbed by 30 per cent since touching a low in early July and have outperformed the mining index by nine per cent so far this year.

Even with the reduced forecast, 2010 output is due to rise 20 per cent from last year due to the plant expansion at Los Pelambres.

Pre-tax profit rose to $932.1m (£605.6m) for the six months to 30 June, from $477.6m in the same period for 2009, on a 50 per cent rise in turnover to $1.76bn. Antofagasta declared an interim dividend of four cents up from 3.4 cents.