Antofagasta PLC (LSE:ANTO) retained its full-year production guidance, after reporting a slight increase in quarterly copper output, but said its costs are now likely to be lower than expected for the year.
Copper production rose 1.5% in the third quarter, as higher output at Centinela outweighed lower throughput at Los Pelambres, to 181,100 tonnes.
Copper production guidance for the full year is 710,000-740,000 tonnes, unchanged from an update in August. Net cash costs, which the FTSE-100 miner did not revise in August, are expected to be below the originally guided US$1.25 per pound despite input cost pressures.
“Our copper production and cost performance during the quarter was in line with our expectations despite external pressures such as the ongoing drought in Chile, the global supply chain challenges, the energy crisis and higher input costs,” said chief executive Ivan Arriagada.
However, the miner expects copper production to decline in 2022.
“Since we last reported, there has been no material rainfall at our operations and as we head into the summer months, we do not expect any rain until the next rainy season, which begins in June next year,” said Arriagada.
“The construction of the desalination plant at Los Pelambres is on track for completion in H2 2022 and we now anticipate group production in 2022 to be between 660,000 and 690,000 tonnes reflecting the previously advised production tonnes at risk at Los Pelambres due to the weather, and lower grades at Centinela concentrates.
“While we expect the extraordinary global supply chain events and energy crisis to ease over time, we remain focused on controlling costs while progressing our current and future growth projects.”