Chilean miner Antofagasta said today it is optimistic about its prospects for the year after navigating higher input costs and an ongoing drought in Chile.
The group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, showed signs of recovery towards the end of 2022, with Antofagasta producing 646,200 tonnes of copper at a cash cost of $1.61 per pound.
This was in line with the lower end of earlier guidance, despite a 10 per cent drop on last year’s copper haul of 721,000 tonnes.
There were signs of recovery in the fourth quarter, however, as group copper production climbed 195,700 tonnes, 7.6 per cent higher than the previous three month trading period.
For 2023, Antofagasta anticipates production of 670,000 to 710,000 tonnes of copper – up from 2022 but still down from 2021’s output.
Chief executive Iván Arriagada said: “The recent strength in the copper market is a positive start to the year, reflecting not just the relaxation of Covid restrictions in China and its expected stronger growth, but also the fundamental long-term importance of copper and the need for increased supply.”
The metal essential for renewable technologies such as wind turbines to EV batteries.
Antofagasta also produces gold, with output for the full year clocking in at 176,800 ounces, which was within its guidance but 29.9 per cent lower than the previous year.
This followed disappointing lower grades from its Centinela mine in Chile, however, production rose by 20 per cent to 56,100 ounces in the fourth quarter from 46,900 in the third.
Antofagasta shares were 2.9 per cent higher on the FTSE 100 on Wednesday afternoon, trading at 1,791p per share.