Oct 17 2012
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Xstrata Coal Output Rises But Copper Falls as New Projects Commissioned
Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012
By Alex MacDonald
LONDON--Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata PLC (XTA.LN) Wednesday reported higher third quarter coal output compared with a year earlier, largely due to higher Australian thermal coal output, while copper output fell as it continues to transition from older mines to new mines.
The company said 10 major projects will be commissioned on schedule by the end of 2012, helping boost output across every commodity business.
Xstrata, which is seeking shareholder and regulatory approval to merge with mining titan Glencore International PLC (GLEN.LN), said consolidated coal production rose 1.7% to 24 million metric tons, while mined copper output dropped 16% on year to 187,849 tons.
Third-quarter consolidated coal output rose due to a 6% rise in total thermal coal output to 21 million tons following the restart of operations at Blakefield South mine in New South Wales, Australia, and volume from other mines helped offset the closure of three thermal coal operations last year. Coking coal output dropped due in part to engineering issues at its Oaky Creek mine Australia.
Total mined copper production was still down on the year, due partly to lower grades and production disruptions at some of its mines, but rose 2% on the quarter, marking a third consecutive quarterly improvement as the company ramped up its Antamina mine in Peru. The company said it has improved the availability of equipment at its 44%-owned Chilean Collahuasi mine, which suffered production setbacks in the first half due to poor weather and an unplanned ball mill outage. It expects output to pick up in the fourth quarter after dropping 44% on year in the third quarter.
The company said that mining operations at its Peruvian Antapaccay copper mine have begun and concentrate production is due to start at the end of October. The mine will ramp up to an average production rate of 160,000 tons of copper a year during 2013.
Total zinc metal output was down 1.2% at 181,992 tons, while total nickel output dipped 0.2% on year to 26,691 tons. Production of zinc metal and nickel accounted for 12% and 9% of first-half operating Ebitda.
Xstrata's shares closed Tuesday up 1.3% at 964 pence, resulting in a market capitalization of GBP289.95 billion. Xstrata's shares have fallen 1.4% since the beginning of the year.
Write to Alex MacDonald at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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