Return to news listing NEWS RELEASE - 19.04.23

Quarterly Production Report – Q1 2023


Antofagasta plc CEO, Iván Arriagada said: “Antofagasta´s production and cost performance in the first quarter was as expected with copper production at 145,900 tonnes and net cash costs at $1.54/lb with production affected by reduced water availability at Los Pelambres and lower grades at Centinela. With the completion of the desalination plant and the concentrator plant expansion at Los Pelambres production will increase during the year to meet production and cash cost guidance of 670-710,000 tonnes of copper at $1.65/lb.

“Controlling our costs in this inflationary environment and mitigating the impact of a stronger Chilean peso continue to be our focus, together with the safety and health of our employees and contractors.

“The copper market has been strong throughout the quarter, and we expect this to continue as structural supply and demand dynamics support a tight physical market.”



  • Copper production in Q1 2023 at 145,900 tonnes was in line with guidance, 5.1% higher than in the same quarter in 2022 and 25.4% lower than in Q4 2022. The decrease from the previous quarter reflects the expected temporary reduction in throughput at Los Pelambres on lower water availability, and expected lower grades and scheduled maintenance at Centinela. Production is expected to increase through the rest of the year
  • Gold production was 42,200 ounces in Q1 2023, 9.9% higher than in the same period in 2022 due to higher grades and 24.8% lower than in Q4 2022, mainly due the scheduled maintenance and expected lower grades at Centinela
  • Molybdenum production in the quarter was 2,500 tonnes, 500 tonnes higher than in the same period in 2022 on higher grades at Los Pelambres and Centinela and 19.4% lower than in Q4 2022 mainly due to lower throughput at Los Pelambres


  • Cash costs before by-product credits in Q1 2023 were $2.49/lb, 6.4% higher than in the same quarter in 2022 due to general inflation and higher input prices during the period, particularly for energy and sulphuric acid. Compared to the previous quarter, cash costs increased by 24.5% on lower copper production and the stronger Chilean peso
  • By-products credits in Q1 2023 were 95c/lb reflecting higher realised prices, particularly for molybdenum
  • Net cash costs in Q1 2023 were $1.54/lb, 21c/lb lower than in Q1 2022 mainly due to higher by-products credits. Compared to Q4 2022 net cash costs were 27c/lb higher reflecting the higher cash costs before by-products credits, partly offset by higher realised by-product prices


  • At the end of Q1 2023, the Los Pelambres Desalination Plant and Concentrator Expansion projects, including design, procurement, construction and commissioning, were 96.2% complete
  • At the desalination plant project, water has successfully been pumped through the entire water system although adverse sea conditions have resulted in some resequencing to finalise the marine works. The desalination plant is expected to come into production by the end of the second quarter of 2023
  • Commissioning of the concentrator plant expansion will begin in the second quarter of 2023
  • Progress continues on the engineering and pre-investment studies for the Centinela Second Concentrator project with a final decision expected by the end of the year


  • Guidance for the year is unchanged. Group copper production for the full year is expected to be 670-710,000 tonnes, increasing through the year
  • Cash cost guidance before and after by-product credits is also unchanged at $2.20/lb and $1.65/lb respectively
  • Capital expenditure guidance is also unchanged at $1.9 billion


  • In Q1 2023, the Group achieved improvements in all safety indicators, including the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate at 0.35 down by 60% compared to Q1 2022
  • The 2022 Sustainability Report was published in March and is available on the company’s website. The report sets out our sustainability strategy, priorities and performance regarding the main material sustainability issues that affected our business and our stakeholders in 2022, a year in which we achieved a record safety performance and reduced our CO2 emissions intensity by 37%


  • The Government presented a revised draft mining royalty bill to Congress in October which was approved by the Senate Mining and Energy Committee in January, and it is now being discussed in the Senate Treasury Committee. The bill will then be debated in the Senate before being passed to the lower house for its consideration
  • A first draft of the new Chilean constitution is being drafted by an appointed Committee of Experts and on 7 May 2023 the members of the Constitutional Council will be elected by direct vote. The Council will work with the Committee to finalise the draft, supported by a committee of technical advisers. The new constitution will then be put to a vote in a national referendum in December 2023
  • Due to the continuing drought in the Choapa Valley, the DGA (Chile’s water administration department) recently reviewed the water distribution arrangements in the Valley. Under the current water rights, Los Pelambres has a net positive impact on water availability in the Choapa Valley. Following the review, Los Pelambres and other stakeholders in the Valley have continued to engage in discussions with the relevant authorities
  • Zaldívar submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in 2018 which included an application to extend its water extraction and mining permits to 2029 (with decreasing activity levels in 2030-2031). Currently, Zaldívar is permitted to extract water and mine into 2025 and 2024, respectively. Zaldívar continues to work diligently with the authorities and consult with the local indigenous community. To ensure the continuity of the operation, in March 2023 Zaldívar submitted a DIA (Declaration of Environmental Impact), a more limited scope and simplified procedure than an EIA, requesting that the mining permit be extended from 2024 to 2025 so as to expire at the same date as the current water permit. At the same time Zaldívar withdrew the 2018 EIA application. It is expected that an alternative and updated EIA application to extend the water and mining permits beyond 2025 will be submitted which will also include a plan for a transition from the current continental water source on completion of the extended water permit, to either procuring water from a third party or using raw sea water.
Copper production kt 145.9 138.8 5.1 145.9 195.7 (25.4)
Copper sales kt 149.0 115.9 28.6 149.0 201.5 (26.1)
Gold production koz 42.2 38.4 9.9 42.2 56.1 (24.8)
Molybdenum production kt 2.5 2.0 25.0 2.5 3.1 (19.4)
Cash costs before by-product credits (1) $/lb 2.49 2.34 6.4 2.49 2.00 24.5
Net cash costs (1) $/lb 1.54 1.75 (12.0) 1.54 1.27 21.3

(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 

Rosario Orchard 

Telephone +44 20 7808 0988   

Media – London

Carole Cable

Telephone +44 20 7404 5959

Media – Santiago

Pablo Orozco 

Carolina Pica

Telephone +56 2 2798 7000

Register on our website to receive our email alerts:

Download the Operating Tables in Excel Format

Download PDF (338KB)