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OZ Minerals Meets Copper Estimate, Retains Annual Target

OZ Minerals Ltd., Australia’s third-biggest copper producer by market value, reported a 9 percent decline in second-quarter production in line with analysts’ estimates and retained its full-year target.

Production fell to 25,521 metric tons from 28,017 tons a year earlier, the Melbourne-based company said today in a statement. The median estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 25,400 tons. OZ Minerals reiterated full-year output will be at the lower end of its forecast of 100,000 tons to 110,000 tons.

The company had a “soft June quarter, as expected,” following heavy rain in the early part of the year, Credit Suisse AG analysts Michael Slifirski and Sam Webb said in a report today. “We expect to see consensus tighten to between 100,000 tons to 105,000 tons” for the full year, they said.

Three-month copper fell as much as 0.8 percent to $7,355 a metric ton, the lowest price since June 28, on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $7,420 by 10:59 a.m. in Tokyo. Prices are being eroded by concern about slowing global economic growth, even as the long-term outlook is strong because of demand from China and India, Chief Executive Officer Terry Burgess said today in a conference call.

“This was a very good quarter given the challenges that we had in the first quarter with the heavy rain,” Burgess said. “We continue to get requests from India and China, so we remain quite optimistic with regard to copper price, which at $3.36 a pound is a good price.”

OZ Minerals shares fell 1.3 percent to A$7.43 at the close of trading in Sydney. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.2 percent.

Copper, used in wiring and tubes, accounted for 73 percent of the company’s sales in 2011. OZ Minerals produced 34,475 ounces of gold in the three months ended June 30, compared with 44,219 ounces a year earlier. It aims to produce 130,000 ounces to 150,000 ounces of gold this year, the company reiterated today.

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