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Antofagasta Appoints Diego Hernandez to Run Mining Unit

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Antofagasta Plc, the copper producer controlled by Chilean billionaire Jean-Paul Luksic, appointed Diego Hernandez, the former chief executive officer of Chile’s state-owned Codelco, to run its mining division.

Hernandez, 63, will help Antofagasta “enhance its overall growth profile,” Luksic said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange today. Hernandez assumes his post Aug. 1.

Antofagasta, which operates four copper mines in Chile, is seeking to overcome delays and declining output to boost copper production by 9 percent to 700,000 metric tons this year. Copper prices have tripled in the past decade on a growing shortage of power cables and electrical wire in China.

Hernandez replaces Marcelo Awad who resigned on March 7 after delays in ramping up a copper processing plant at its newest mine, Esperanza. Antofagasta, based in London, cut its 2011 output forecast in June to 620,000 tons from 640,000.

The shares rose 1.8 percent to 1,045 pence at the close in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Craze in Santiago at mcraze@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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