Xstrata ups its copper production

City A.M. Reporter
Xstrata, the miner, yesterday revealed mixed third-quarter production figures for its two key products, with an increase in copper output and a fall in coal, as strong commodity prices pointed to a surge in annual profit.

The Anglo-Swiss company, which has switched focus from takeovers to building mines, also released initial data about the size of a copper deposit at its joint venture in Chile.

Xstrata said production of mined copper increased 10 per cent to 233,647 tonnes during the three months to the end of September, due to improved mining rates and grades.

Consolidated coal output fell five per cent to 21.9m tonnes following planned mine closures in Australia and South Africa and bad weather in Colombia.

Copper is the group’s most important product, accounting for 43 per cent of first-half operating profit, while coal ranks second, making up 32 per cent.

“While Xstrata’s third quarter production was certainly patchy, the company is very focused on growth and the board has approved some sizeable investments during the last few months,” said analyst Charles Kernot at Evolution Securities.

The group also released the first resource estimate for the West Wall project in Chile, a 50:50 joint venture with Anglo American, showing it has four million tonnes of copper.

“These exploration results confirm West Wall represents an important discovery with the potential to contribute to Xstrata Copper’s project development pipeline in Chile,” the company said.
The price of copper is up 24 per cent on the same period a year ago.