Quarterly Production Report - Q4 2018
STRONG FINAL QUARTER
RECORD COPPER PRODUCTION
Antofagasta plc CEO, Iván Arriagada said:
“The Company has finished the year strongly achieving record production for the quarter of 220,000 tonnes and for the full year of 725,300 tonnes. This is at the top end of our revised guidance.
“Reflecting our continued focus on costs our net cash costs for the quarter were $0.99/lb, the lowest since 2012, and for the year were only 3% higher than in 2017 despite average grades declining and cost pressure from rising input prices.
“The Group’s operations have achieved an improved level of operating stability and we go into 2019 with real momentum for what we expect to be another record-setting year, with production increasing by up to 9% to 750-790,000 tonnes at net cash costs of $1.30/lb.
“Our priorities for the year ahead are to continue to strengthen our safety performance and our operational reliability and efficiency, while also starting the construction of the Los Pelambres expansion, which was approved by the Board at the end of last year.”
• Group copper production in Q4 2018 was 220,000 tonnes, 16.8% higher compared to the previous quarter as a result of higher production at all of our operations, particularly at Centinela Concentrates which increased production by 68.3%.
• Group copper production for the full year of 725,300 tonnes was at the top end of revised guidance and set a record year for the Company with a 3.0% increase compared with 2017 due to higher production at Los Pelambres and Centinela.
• Throughput at Centinela Concentrates in Q4 was 6% above design capacity at 111,100 tonnes per day.
• Gold production was 90,000 ounces in Q4 2018, an 87.1% increase on Q3 2018 due to higher throughput, grades and recoveries at Centinela. Full year production was 210,100 ounces, the top end of guidance.
• Molybdenum production was 3,300 tonnes in Q4 2018 and 13,600 tonnes for the full year, 29.5% higher than in the previous year on higher throughput, grades and recoveries at Los Pelambres, and
• Cash costs before by-product credits in Q4 2018 were $1.43/lb, 16.9% lower than in Q3 2018 due to tight control of costs and higher production as throughput and grades strengthened, particularly at Centinela Concentrates.
• Cash costs before by-product credits for the full year were $1.72/lb, 12c/lb higher than last year due to higher input prices and the lower grades at Centinela.
• Net cash costs were $0.99/lb in Q4 2018, a 22.0% decrease compared with the previous quarter, reflecting the lower cash costs before by-products credits.
• Net cash costs for 2018 were $1.29/lb, 3.2% higher than in 2017 but below guidance reflecting higher by-product revenues.
• Group production in 2019 is expected to be a record year with 750-790,000 tonnes of copper (as previously announced), 240-260,000 ounces of gold and 11,500-12,500 tonnes of molybdenum.
• Group cash costs in 2019 before and after by-product credits are expected to be similar to 2018’s at $1.70/lb and $1.30/lb respectively.
• Capital expenditure in 2019 is expected to be $1.2 billion, including the Los Pelambres expansion project, which will add 60,000 tonnes of copper per annum. Sustaining capital expenditure and mine development will remain at similar levels as 2018.
• As announced in October 2018, after 26 months without a fatality there was a fatal accident at Los Pelambres in that month. A full investigation has now been completed and the lessons learned have been implemented. Safety remains the Group’s top priority.Download PDF (725KB)