Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- OZ Minerals Ltd., which operates the A$1.2 billion ($1.1 billion) Prominent Hill mine in Australia, said fourth-quarter copper production increased 29 percent and forecast increased annual output.
Production was 36,497 metric tons in the three months ended Dec. 31, Melbourne-based OZ Minerals said today in a statement. That compares with 28,316 tons in the previous quarter. Full-year production was 96,310 tons, beating the company's target of between 85,000 tons and 90,000 tons.
OZ Minerals is boosting output from its only mine as prices for copper and gold gain. The company sold $1.6 billion of assets last year to slash debt after a rout in commodity prices in 2008 curbed profits. This year "should see the return of real physical demand for commodities," Deutsche Bank AG said in a report last week.
"This strong production performance was due to increased milling rates, good recoveries and high plant utilization," the company said. Annual production for the years 2010 to 2012 is forecast at between 100,000 tons and 110,000 tons of copper and 80,000 ounces to 90,000 ounces of gold, OZ Minerals said.
The stock advanced 2.2 percent to A$1.175 at 10:10 a.m. Sydney time on the Australian stock exchange, giving the company a market value of A$3.7 billion.
Output from the mine in South Australia started in February. Gold production rose 45 percent to 30,526 ounces in the quarter from the previous quarter.