OZ Minerals Lowers Gold Output Forecast on Australia Power Cuts

  • Producer suffered extended power loss at Prominent Hill mine
  • BHP Billiton is reviewing copper forecast following outages

OZ Minerals Ltd., Australia’s third-largest copper producer, lowered its forecast for full-year gold output after power disruption that hobbled mines to smelters across South Australia.

Blackouts in the state which began late last month caused an extended loss of power at the Prominent Hill copper and gold mine, resulting in 56 hours of lost production in the three months to Sept. 30, the Adelaide-based company said Friday in a statement. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest miner, said Wednesday it was reviewing copper output guidance after the power cuts halted one of its mines.

Gold output in 2016 at Prominent Hill is forecast at 115,000 to 120,000 ounces, from a previous target of 125,000 to 135,000 ounces, OZ Minerals said in its statement. Full-year copper production is expected to remain within the forecast range of 115,000 to 125,00 metric tons, it said.

“It’s positive that we’ve been able to hit copper guidance for the eighth successive quarter given adverse weather and power interruptions” OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cole said in the statement. Storms and bad weather resulted in 98 hours of lost open pit production in the quarter, the statement said.

Power Failures

Copper output in the three months to Sept. 30 rose 5 percent to 28,756 tons from the previous quarter, OZ Minerals said. Gold production declined 5 percent to 28,466 ounces, it said.

Power failures and storms in South Australia state shuttered BHP’s Olympic Dam copper mine and caused stoppages at Nyrstar NV’s Port Pirie operation, among the world’s biggest lead smelters. Australian steel producer Arrium Ltd. may face costs of as much as A$40 million ($31 million) after output was halted, the firm’s administrators said.

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