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Antofagasta Quarterly Output Rises 9.1% on Esperanza Ramp-Up

Antofagasta Plc, the copper producer controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, said second-quarter output increased 9.1 percent as the ramp-up at the Esperanza mine added to production and Los Pelambres processed more ore.

Copper production climbed to 173,200 metric tons in the three months through June from 158,700 tons a year earlier, the London-based company said in a statement today. First-half output was 336,000 tons, up 17 percent from a year earlier.

Copper companies are boosting production amid rising demand for the metal used in cables and pipes. Antofagasta is seeking to increase its production to about 700,000 tons this year from 640,500 tons.

Production at the Esperanza mine, where disruptions have curbed the start of output since last year, rose 24 percent to 37,700 tons in the second quarter from the previous three months, Antofagasta said.

Average ore processing at Esperanza climbed 13 percent to 79,700 tons a day from the previous quarter, reflecting “the recovery in throughput following temporary issues with the primary crusher feed conveyor in the first quarter,” it said.

Gold production advanced 14 percent to 72,600 ounces from the previous quarter as output from Esperanza increased, Antofagasta said. At Los Pelambres, production of molybdenum, a byproduct of mining used to harden steel, rose 9.7 percent to 3,400 tons from the prior three months because of higher ore grades.

Net cash costs rose to 99.3 cents per pound from 98.1 cents the previous quarter on reduced costs at the Esperanza mine, Antofagasta said.

The company’s shares rose 2.4 percent to 1,098 pence by the close of London trading.

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