Return to news listing NEWS RELEASE - 21.10.20

Quarterly Production Report - Q3 2020


Antofagasta plc CEO, Iván Arriagada said: “Our copper production and cost control performance during the quarter were in line with expectations. For the year to date production was 541,300 tonnes at a net cash cost of $1.14/lb.

“We remain focused on the health and safety of our employees and contractors, and the communities near our operations. Although the rate of infections of COVID-19 in Chile fell during this quarter, we remain vigilant and continue to apply all the health protocols we have put in place. Following the temporary and precautionary suspension of the Los Pelambres Expansion project in Q2, approximately 75% of the original planned numbers are now working on site and all COVID-19 protocols are being followed. Similarly, work has also started at the Esperanza Sur and Zaldívar Chloride Leach projects.

“For the full year 2020 we continue to expect production to be at the lower end of the original 725-755,000 tonnes guidance range, and net cash costs are now expected to be below the originally guided $1.20/lb. In 2021 we expect production to be in the range of 730-760,000 tonnes of copper, as grades increase at Centinela Concentrates, and we conservatively assume that COVID-19 health protocols will stay in place for the whole year.”



  • Group copper production in Q3 2020 was 169,600 tonnes, 4.6% lower than in the previous quarter on lower production at Los Pelambres, due to major maintenance work during the period, and expected lower grades at Antucoya
  • Group copper production for the first nine months of the year was in line with expectations at 541,300 tonnes, 7.3% lower than in the same period last year mainly on expected lower grades at Centinela Concentrates, partly offset by higher production at Centinela Cathodes
  • Gold production for the quarter was 38,300 ounces, 16.7% lower than in the previous quarter as grades and recoveries declined at Centinela, and for the year to date production fell by 34.1% to 149,400 ounces on lower grades and throughput at Centinela in line with the mine plan for the year
  • Molybdenum production in the quarter was 3,400 tonnes, 9.7% higher than the previous quarter on higher grades and recoveries at Centinela. For the year to date, production was 8,900 tonnes, 400 tonnes lower than in the same period last year


  • Cash costs before by-product credits in Q3 2020 were $1.60/lb and for the first nine months of the year were $1.54/lb, 6.7% higher than in Q2 2020 and 6.1% lower than in the year to date last year. This improvement in unit costs during the year to date is due to the weaker Chilean peso, lower input costs and continued tight cost control, partially offset by the lower production
  • Net cash costs were $1.19/lb in Q3 2020 and $1.14/lb for the year to date, a 5.3% increase compared with the previous quarter and 2.6% lower than the same period last year, primarily due to lower cash costs before by-product credits, offset by lower by-product credits


  • Copper production guidance for 2020 is unchanged at the lower end of the original 725-755,000 tonnes range, and net cash costs are now expected to be below $1.20/lb, assuming no material change to the exchange rate during the reminder of the year
  • In 2021 production is expected to be to 730-760,000 tonnes of copper mainly as grades start to increase at Centinela Concentrates in Q4 2020 and assuming that COVID-19 health protocols remain in place for the whole year


  • The rate of COVID-19 infections in Chile peaked in June before declining to much lower levels that have remained stable since then. Government imposed restrictions are being eased but at the Company’s operations the COVID-19 protocols are being maintained and will continue for the foreseeable future
  • The Company continues to operate with approximately two-thirds of its workforce at its operations, with the balance working from home or in preventative quarantine
  • The workforce at the Los Pelambres Expansion project has built up to 75% of the originally planned numbers and will stay at this level until the COVID-19 restrictions can be relaxed


  • Earlier this month the Company successfully issued its inaugural $500 million 2.375% note due 2030, which was 12 times oversubscribed. The bond diversifies the Company’s funding sources and provides access to longer tenors without changing the Company’s levels of net debt
  • Progress on the Los Pelambres Expansion project was 39% complete as at the end of the quarter and, with the increased number of workers on site, the rate of progress is accelerating. As indicated on 20 August, an update on the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions and changes to the desalination plant on the construction schedule and costs is underway and will be completed by the end of the year. The revised cost and schedule estimates will be included in the Q4 Production Report in January 2021
  • As previously reported, labour negotiations were successfully concluded with the workers’ union at Zaldívar, and two unions at Centinela during the quarter. Negotiations have recently started with the two remaining workers’ unions at Centinela and are expected to be concluded by the end of the year

Investors – London

Andrew Lindsay 

Andres Vergara 

Telephone +44 20 7808 0988   

Media – London

Carole Cable

Will Medvei

Telephone +44 20 7404 5959

Media – Santiago

Pablo Orozco 

Paola Raffo

Telephone +56 2 2798 7000


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