Antofagasta Reports Record Year Of Production
LONDON - Antofagasta plc CEO Iván Arriagada said, “2018 was a record year of production, with the Group hitting 725,300 tonnes of copper reflecting an improving level of operating stability and a full year’s contribution from Encuentro Oxides. This momentum will continue into 2019 which we expect to be another record-setting year as we benefit from a further improvement in grades and continued strong throughput. In 2018 we achieved savings of $184 million under our Cost and Competitiveness Programme which helped contain the increase in net cash costs to 3%. These savings were in excess of the $100 million originally targeted, and now for 2019 we are targeting a further $100 million of savings. Our financial results reflect the strong operating performance of the year. Despite lower realised copper prices EBITDA1 was in line with expectations at $2.2 billion with healthy operating cash flow of $1.9 billion. “
Group copper production for the full year was 725,300 tonnes, 3% higher than 2017 and at the top end of revised guidance and set a record year for the Company due to higher production at Los Pelambres and Centinela. The group production in 2019 is expected to be 750-790,000 tonnes of copper, 240-260,000 ounces of gold and 11,500-12,500 tonnes of molybdenum (as previously announced). Copper production is expected to grow as grades improve at all operations, but particularly Centinela Concentrates.
Los Pelambres Incremental Expansion Phase 1 received approval at the end of 2018 with construction starting at the beginning of 2019. This phase will increase annual copper production by 40,000 tonnes in the first full year of the expansion, reaching 70,000 tonnes towards the end of the first 15 years. The capital cost of the project is $1.3 billion, which includes $500 million for a 400-litre per second desalination plant and water pipeline which has the capacity to supply the water requirements of this expansion, a potential future expansion and to serve as back-up for water supply to the existing plant in case of extended drought.
The Centinela expansion. Following a detailed evaluation of two expansion alternatives the Company will progress the studies on a second concentrator, as this alternative offers the best potential combination of financial returns and risk profile. The feasibility study of the second concentrator is expected to be completed during 2020.
The company’s address is 33 King Street, London SW1Y 6RJ, United Kingdom, 44 (0)20 7808 0988, www.antofagasta.co.uk.