Return to news listing NEWS RELEASE - 17.04.24

Quarterly Production Report – Q1 2024


Antofagasta plc CEO, Iván Arriagada said: “Production and cost performance at our mine sites over the quarter was in line with our expectations, with lower grades at Centinela during the period, and Los Pelambres product inventories increasing due to the extended concentrate pipeline maintenance and cleaning activities in February. This production, which is the equivalent of 27kt1 of copper in concentrate, has been rescheduled into future quarters. Furthermore, we continue to see the positive impact at Los Pelambres of the new desalination plant and fourth concentrator line on volumes. Full year guidance is unchanged, and the Company’s production profile is expected to increase quarter-on-quarter throughout the remainder of the year.

“Our next phase of copper growth has begun, with full construction of the Centinela Second Concentrator Project commencing during the quarter, which will add a further 170kt2 per year of copper-equivalent production, with first copper scheduled for 2027. Following approval of the relevant Environmental Impact Assessment for Los Pelambres, preparations are underway to commence construction work to double the capacity of the existing desalination plant and build a new concentrate pipeline, both of which will serve as key enablers for further growth.

“As we move toward further global electrification, Antofagasta is in a strong position to provide a growing supply of responsibly produced copper and creating value for all our stakeholders.”

1. Approximate figure. The term ‘kt’ refers to thousand tonnes.
2 Average production over an initial 10-year period.



  • Copper production in Q1 2024 was 129,400 tonnes, 11% lower than Q1 2023, primarily due to lower grades and increased ore hardness at Centinela, in line with the mine plan, as well as maintenance and cleaning activities on the Los Pelambres concentrate pipeline that delayed moving concentrate to the Company’s port facilities. The pipeline has recommenced operations, and approximately 27,000 tonnes of accumulated copper in concentrate will be rescheduled into future quarters as production and sales.
  • Gold production in Q1 2024 was 33,300 tonnes, 21% lower than Q1 2023, as a result of expected lower gold grades at Centinela and the delay in moving material through the Los Pelambres concentrate pipeline.
  • Molybdenum production in Q1 2024 was 2,700 tonnes, 8% higher than Q1 2023 due to higher molybdenum production at Los Pelambres, with this output unaffected by recent maintenance of the concentrate pipeline since transportation of this product is by road.


  • Cash costs before by-product credits in Q1 2024 were $2.67/lb, representing a 7% increase year-on-year, principally related to lower production at Centinela and Los Pelambres during the quarter, offset by lower unit costs for key consumables and depreciation of the Chilean peso. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, cash costs rose by 29%, primarily as a result of the lower production.
  • By-product credits in Q1 2024 were 74c/lb (Q1 2023: 95c/lb), reflecting lower production volumes and lower molybdenum pricing, partially offset by higher gold pricing. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, by-product credits rose by 30%, following higher realised prices for molybdenum.
  • Net cash costs in Q1 2024 were $1.93/lb, 25% higher than Q1 2023 as a result of lower production volumes and lower credits for by-products. Quarter-on-quarter net cash costs rose by 29%, in line with the movement in cash costs before by-products.


  • Following definitive financing agreements for the Centinela Second Concentrator Project, as announced on 19 March 2024, full construction has commenced, with a project workforce of approximately 2,000 people and all critical equipment orders placed with suppliers. The financing entered into by Minera Centinela is with a group of international lenders for $2.5 billion, consisting of a term loan facility with a 4-year drawdown period and a term of approximately 12 years, and the first tranche of funding has now been received under this facility.
  • The Company also announced on 19 March 2024 that it has entered into a detailed agreement that provides Centinela with the option to receive water for its current and future operations from an experienced international consortium who would acquire Centinela’s existing water supply system and build an expansion of this system to supply the Centinela Second Concentrator Project. In order to complete this agreement, the international consortium is required to close its financing, which is expected to be finalised during the course of the year.
  • The recently constructed Los Pelambres Phase 1 Expansion continues to operate in line with expectations, with the desalination plant operating at its design capacity, and the fourth concentrator line ramping up and increasing the overall nameplate capacity of the plant to 190,000 tonnes of ore per day. In March 2024, an inauguration ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the desalination plant, with a delegation of government representatives attending, including the President of Chile, Ministers, Members of the Regional Congress, and representatives from the local authorities and communities.
  • Following approval of the relevant EIA in late 2023, preparations are well underway at Los Pelambres for the commencement of construction of the next phase of development projects, which includes the doubling of the existing desalination plant to 800 litres per second and the construction of a new concentrate pipeline. Details of these projects, including capital cost estimates and the construction window for each project, were provided in the Full Year Results announcement in February 2024.


  • As announced on 28 March 2024, the Company owns 19% of Compañía de Minas Buenaventura S.A.A. (Buenaventura), and Iván Arriagada and Andrónico Luksic Lederer have joined Buenaventura’s board of directors.
  • In January 2024, the Company announced that the Board of Directors had appointed Tracey Kerr as an independent Non-Executive Director with effect from 29 January 2024.


  • Guidance for the year remains unchanged. Group copper production for the full year is expected to be in the range of 670-710,000 tonnes, as quarterly production increases over the year.
  • Cash cost guidance, both before and after by-product credits, is also unchanged at $2.25/lb and $1.60/lb respectively.
  • Capital expenditure guidance is also unchanged at $2.7 billion.


  • Safety performance continued in line with the performance registered in Full Year 2023, with no fatalities and lost time injury frequency rates continuing at a level below 1.0. Furthermore, the Company is pleased to report a reduction of more than 30% in the high-potential accident frequency rate in Q1 2024, relative to Full Year 2023, with this metric an important leading indicator of safety across the business.
  • In March 2024, the Company published its Sustainability Report and Climate Action Plan alongside its Annual Report and Accounts, in addition to the Company’s Sustainability Databook, in line with previous years. The Climate Action Plan includes the decarbonisation strategy to accompany the emissions reduction targets that were released in February 2024.
  • At Los Pelambres, following discussions with our stakeholders in the Choapa Valley about water distribution arrangements under drought conditions and the provisions of the new Water Code, a revised agreement is in place that was approved in Q1 2024 by the relevant water authority. Under the terms of this agreement, when in drought, Los Pelambres will be able to draw its full freshwater intake requirements, subject to certain administrative conditions being exercised and kept in place by the relevant water authority, which have largely been fulfilled already.


  • In early 2024 approval was received from the authorities for the separate DIA (Declaration of Environmental Impact) to extend the mining permit and, therefore, align the water and mining permits at Zaldívar. This approval ensures that this operation has rights to mine ore and extract water until 2025. The mine life after 2025 is, therefore, subject to the approval of the EIA.
  • In June 2023, Zaldívar submitted an EIA application to extend its mining and water environmental permits through to 2051. This includes a proposal to develop the primary sulphide ore deposit and extend the current life of mine at an estimated investment over the mine life of $1.2 billion. It also includes a plan to change the mine’s water source from the local aquifer to either seawater or water provided by third parties. This is proposed to follow a transition period during which the current continental water extraction permit is extended from 2025 to 2028. Following this submission, and in accordance with the normal regulatory process, the Company filed its first round of responses during Q1 2024 to the requests for information received from the relevant authorities reviewing the permit application.
  • Separate to the above permits, and as previously reported, the Company (as well as other named defendants) submitted a response contradicting the allegations made by the Consejo de Defensa del Estado (CDE), an independent governmental agency that represents the interests of the Chilean state, who previously filed a claim against Minera Escondida, Albemarle and Zaldívar, alleging that their extraction of water from the Monturaqui-Negrillar-Tilopozo aquifer over the years has impacted the underground water level. The evidentiary record is now closed, and a decision from the Court is pending. However, conversations regarding a potential settlement are continuing.


  • As previously announced in the Company’s Full Year Results, with an update provided on 28 March 2024, on 31 January 2024, during regular cleaning activities prior to scheduled maintenance of the concentrate pipeline that connects the processing plant at Los Pelambres to the port at Los Vilos, concentrate material was detected that was stopping the normal transit of concentrate. This material was successfully cleared, and the filtering of concentrates at the port facilities resumed at the end of February. Mining and processing operations at Los Pelambres continued to operate unaffected throughout and concentrates were stockpiled at the processing plant in pre-existing stockpile locations. As a result, a portion of the Los Pelambres’ concentrate filtered production and sales from Q1 2024, estimated to be approximately 27,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate, will be rescheduled into future quarters.
Copper production kt 129.4 145.9 (11.3) 129.4 191.5 (32.4)
Copper sales kt 115.7 149.0 (22.3) 115.7 213.4 (45.8)
Gold production koz 33.3 42.2 (21.1) 33.3 65.5 (49.2)
Molybdenum production kt 2.7 2.5 8.0 2.7 2.9 (6.9)
Cash costs before by-product credits (1) $/lb 2.67 2.49 7.2 2.67 2.07 29.0
Net cash costs (1) $/lb 1.93 1.54 25.3 1.93 1.50 28.7

(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.

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Telephone +44 20 7808 0988 

Media – London

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Media – Santiago

Pablo Orozco 

Carolina Pica

Telephone +56 2 2798 7000

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