Return to news listing NEWS RELEASE - 24.10.18

Quarterly Production Report - Q3 2018


Antofagasta plc CEO, Iván Arriagada said: “As expected, copper production increased 15% quarter-on- quarter, reaching 188,300 tonnes in Q3. Production volumes will continue to grow, with the fourth quarter expected to be particularly strong.

“While we benefited from higher production in the quarter, our disciplined approach to costs has allowed us to combat inflationary pressures during the year which, combined with the strong molybdenum market, has contributed to a 15% fall in our net cash costs to $1.27/lb and for the full year guidance remains unchanged at $1.35/lb.

“The physical copper market continues to look tight and the outlook for next year remains positive despite ongoing fears about disruptions to global trade. We have narrowed our copper production guidance for the full year to 705-725,000 tonnes and looking ahead we expect production in 2019 to increase to 750-790,000 tonnes, driven by higher average grades at Centinela Concentrates and Zaldívar.”



  • Group copper production in Q3 2018 was 188,300 tonnes, 15.4% higher compared to the previous quarter as a result of higher production at all of our operations.
  • Group copper production for the first nine months of the year was 505,500 tonnes, 4.0% lower than in the same period last year as a result of lower grades.
  • Gold production during the quarter increased by 21.2% to 48,100 ounces compared to the previous quarter, but for the first nine months decreased by 30.1% to 120,100 ounces due to lower grades at Centinela.
  • Molybdenum production in the quarter was 4,400 tonnes, 57.1% higher than in Q2, and for the year to date was 10,300 tonnes, 43.1% higher than in the same period last year, principally due to higher grades and recoveries at Los Pelambres. Additionally, Centinela started producing molybdenum during this quarter.


  • Cash costs before by-product credits in Q3 2018 were $1.72/lb, 7.0% lower than in Q2 2018. The decrease is mainly related to increased production at all operations and a weaker Chilean Peso.
  • Cash costs before by-product credits for the first nine months were $1.85/lb, 18.6% higher than last year mainly due to lower production, a stronger local currency and increased input costs.
  • Net cash costs were $1.27/lb in Q3 2018, a 15.3% decrease compared with the previous quarter, primarily due to lower cash costs before by-product credits and higher by-product credits.
  • Net cash costs for the first nine months were $1.42/lb, 16.4% higher than in the same period last year on higher cash costs before by-product credits, partially offset by higher by-products credits.


  • Copper production guidance for the full year has been narrowed to 705-725,000 tonnes, with a strong increase in production expected in Q4, particularly at Centinela as grades continue to rise.
  • Net cash cost guidance for the full year is unchanged at $1.35/lb as unit costs improve in Q4 on increased production.
  • In 2019 production is expected to increase to 750-790,000 tonnes of copper with higher average grades, particularly at Centinela Concentrates and Zaldívar.
  • Total capital expenditure for the year is expected to be less than the $1.0 billion previously guided.


  • Regrettably after 26 months without a fatality a contractor suffered a fatal accident at Los Pelambres in October. A full investigation is underway and actions identified during the review will be implemented with direct oversight by senior management. Safety remains the Group’s top priority.


      2018 2017 % 2018 2018 %
Copper production kt 505.5 526.5 (4.0) 188.3 163.2 15.4
Copper sales kt 499.3 522.4 (4.4) 195.5 167.1 17.0
Gold production koz 120.1 171.8 (30.1) 48.1 39.7 21.2
Molybdenum production kt 10.3 7.2 43.1 4.4 2.8 57.1
Cash costs before by-product credits (1) $/lb 1.85 1.56 18.6 1.72 1.85 (7.0)
Net cash costs (1) $/lb 1.42 1.22 16.4 1.27 1.50 (15.3)

(1) 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.

Investors – London
Andrew Lindsay 
Telephone +44 20 7808 0983
Andres Vergara
Telephone +44 20 7808 0988

Media – London
Carole Cable
Telephone +44 20 7404 5959
Will Medvei
Telephone +44 20 7404 5959

Investors – Santiago 
Francisco Veloso
Telephone +56 2 2798 7000 

Media – Santiago 
Pablo Orozco
Carolina Pica
Telephone +56 2 2798 7000

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