LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Chilean miner Antofagasta reported a 10.4% drop in 2022 copper output on Wednesday as lower ore grade and drought in Chile continued to affect output.
The London-listed company said it produced 646,200 tonnes of copper last year, at the low end of its forecast of 640,000 to 660,000 tonnes.
“The recent strength of the copper market is a positive start to the year, reflecting not only the easing of COVID restrictions in China and its expected higher growth, but also the fundamental long-term importance of copper and the need to increase the offer,” Chief Executive Iván Arriagada said in a statement.
The market expects the use of copper to increase in the global movement towards green energy and electrification.
Antofagasta, which operates four copper mines in Chile, the world’s largest producing country, expects output in 2023 to rise to between 670,000 and 710,000 tons at net cash costs of $1.65 a pound, from $1.61. 2022 dollars.
The unit cost guidance is higher than consensus expectations, reflecting cost pressures for copper mining in Chile, Citi analysts said in a note.
The miner expects capex of $1.9bn this year, unchanged from 2022, affected by inflation and higher costs for its mine development and desalination expansion at Centinela and Los Palambres operations. (Reporting by Clara Denina, Muhammed Husain; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)
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