Return to news listing NEWS RELEASE - 25.01.17

Quarterly Production Report – Q4 2016


Antofagasta plc CEO, Iván Arriagada said:

“As expected Antofagasta put in a strong performance in the final quarter of 2016 with production up 13.8% versus the previous quarter. As a result, copper production for the full year was just under 710,000 tonnes, 12.5% higher than in 2015.

“Reflecting our continued focus on profitable tonnes, net cash costs for 2016 fell by 20.0% year-on-year, to $1.20/lb benefiting from rigorous cost control, increased production and lower input prices.

“During the year our new Antucoya mine successfully ramped up to full production and our latest acquisition, Zaldívar, contributed its first full year of production. Both operations are now fully integrated into the Group and are operating well.

“Looking ahead into 2017 we remain focused on operating and cost efficiencies, and achieving our production targets. Although we believe the industry has passed the low point in this commodity cycle, uncertainty persists and we need to build carefully on the solid foundations of our existing operations.”



  • Copper production in Q4 2016 was 205,500 tonnes, 13.8% higher than the previous quarter with strong performances from Centinela, Zaldívar and Los Pelambres driven by higher grades and increased throughput.
  • Group copper production for the full year increased by 12.5% compared to 2015 to 709,400 tonnes. This was driven by higher copper production at Centinela and additional production coming from the Group’s new Antucoya and Zaldívar operations, partly offset by the closure of Michilla at the end of 2015.
  • Gold production was 91,100 ounces in Q4 2016, a 29.7% increase on Q3 2016 due to higher grades and throughput at Centinela. For the full year production was 270,900 ounces, 26.6% higher than in 2015, again reflecting better grades and throughput at Centinela.
  • Molybdenum production at Los Pelambres was 2,000 tonnes in Q4 2016 and 7,100 tonnes for the full year. This was a small increase for the quarter and a 3,000 tonne decrease for the full year as grades and recoveries fell.


  • Cash costs before by-product credits in Q4 2016 were $1.46/lb, 5.2% lower than in Q3 2016 as production volumes increased, particularly at Centinela.
  • Cash costs before by-product credits for the full year were $1.54/lb, 27c/lb lower than last year as a result of the successful cost savings achieved during the year, higher production and the previously announced change in the estimation method for deferred stripping costs.
  • Net cash costs were $1.13/lb in Q4 2016, a 4.2% decrease compared with the previous quarter. This was primarily due to lower cash costs before by-products credits and higher production of gold and molybdenum
  • Net cash costs for 2016 were $1.20/lb, 20.0% lower than in 2015. This reflected the lower cash costs before by-product credits, higher gold production and higher realised prices for gold and molybdenum, partly offset by lower molybdenum production.


  • Group production in 2017 is expected to be in the range of 685-720,000 tonnes of copper (as previously announced), 185-205,000 ounces of gold and 8,500-9,500 tonnes of molybdenum.
  • Group cash cost before by-product credits in 2017 are expected to be similar to this year’s at $1.55/lb and net cash cost are expected to be approximately $1.30/lb.


  • As previously announced in November, the Group agreed the sale of the majority of the assets of Michilla for a total consideration of $52 million.
  • As announced on 20 January, Los Pelambres will transfer its 40% interest in Alto Maipo to AES Gener and the pricing of the electricity provided by the project to Los Pelambres will be reduced. This transaction is subject to approval by the lenders.
  2016 2015 % 2016 2016 %
Copper production(1) (kt) 709.4 630.3 12.5 205.5 180.6 13.8
Copper sales(2) (kt) 698.5 636.0 9.8 206.7 182.3 13.4
Gold production (koz) 270.9 213.9 26.6 91.1 70.3 29.7
Molybdenum production (kt)  7.1 10.1 (29.7) 2.0 1.9 5.3
Cash costs before by-product credit(3) ($/lb) 1.54 1.81 (14.9) 1.46 1.54 (5.2)
Net cash cost(3) ($/lb) 1.20 1.50 (20.0) 1.13 1.18 (4.2)


(1) Includes pre-commercial production at Antucoya of 12,700 tonnes, which is not included in the unit cost calculations.
(2) Includes pre-commercial production sales at Antucoya of 11,800 tonnes
(3) Cash cost is a non-GAAP measure used by the mining industry to express the cost of production in US dollars per pound of copper produced


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