Chile Escondida 2011 Output Tumbles 25 Pct Yr/Yr-Shanghai Metals Market

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Chile Escondida 2011 Output Tumbles 25 Pct Yr/Yr

Industry News 09:19:58AM Feb 16, 2012 Source:SMM

SANTIAGO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Output from the world's largest copper mine, Chile's Escondida, plummeted 24.6 percent in 2011 from a year earlier to its lowest level in nearly a decade, on sinking ore grades and a two-week strike, the mine said on Wednesday.   

Escondida, which is majority owned by global miner BHP Billiton , said in a statement that it produced 819,261 tonnes of copper last year compared with 1.09 million tonnes in 2010.   

"The lower production is explained by lower ore grades and the illegal workers' stoppage between July 21 and Aug. 5," the mine said in a statement.    

The production results, the lowest since 2002 according to data from Chile's state copper commission Cochilco, come a day after BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto said they had approved plans for a $4.5 billion expansion of the mine to boost output.    

Escondida's net profit plummeted 36 percent in 2011 to $2.775 billion, the mine said. Revenue sank 19.5 percent to $7.420 billion in 2011, hit by lower production but somewhat offset by higher prices for the red metal, Escondida added.   

The mine produced 535,776 tonnes of copper concentrates and 283,485 tonnes of copper cathodes in 2011, Escondida added. Tuesday's announced expansion plans aim to boost production to more than 1.3 million tonnes a year by June 2015, or about 5 percent of the global copper market.
   
Ageing Escondida has become symptomatic of mining challenges in Chile, the world's top copper producer, where the lynchpin sector was hit by a wave of labor unrest and extreme weather last year.   
    
Escondida workers' two week strike stoked supply fears that helped push the price of copper to near four-month highs in August and led the company to declare force majeure.

The company said at the time the work stoppage had not significantly affected production.   

BHP plans to spend $2.6 billion on two projects to boost output at the mine, while Rio's share of the projects is $1.4 billion and Japanese consortium JECO, which holds a 12.5 percent stake, will cover the rest, they announced on Tuesday.   

The projects are designed to give the partners access to higher ore grades, with a new 152,000 tonnes a day concentrator plant and new mineral handling system.
 

Chile Escondida 2011 Output Tumbles 25 Pct Yr/Yr

Industry News 09:19:58AM Feb 16, 2012 Source:SMM

SANTIAGO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Output from the world's largest copper mine, Chile's Escondida, plummeted 24.6 percent in 2011 from a year earlier to its lowest level in nearly a decade, on sinking ore grades and a two-week strike, the mine said on Wednesday.   

Escondida, which is majority owned by global miner BHP Billiton , said in a statement that it produced 819,261 tonnes of copper last year compared with 1.09 million tonnes in 2010.   

"The lower production is explained by lower ore grades and the illegal workers' stoppage between July 21 and Aug. 5," the mine said in a statement.    

The production results, the lowest since 2002 according to data from Chile's state copper commission Cochilco, come a day after BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto said they had approved plans for a $4.5 billion expansion of the mine to boost output.    

Escondida's net profit plummeted 36 percent in 2011 to $2.775 billion, the mine said. Revenue sank 19.5 percent to $7.420 billion in 2011, hit by lower production but somewhat offset by higher prices for the red metal, Escondida added.   

The mine produced 535,776 tonnes of copper concentrates and 283,485 tonnes of copper cathodes in 2011, Escondida added. Tuesday's announced expansion plans aim to boost production to more than 1.3 million tonnes a year by June 2015, or about 5 percent of the global copper market.
   
Ageing Escondida has become symptomatic of mining challenges in Chile, the world's top copper producer, where the lynchpin sector was hit by a wave of labor unrest and extreme weather last year.   
    
Escondida workers' two week strike stoked supply fears that helped push the price of copper to near four-month highs in August and led the company to declare force majeure.

The company said at the time the work stoppage had not significantly affected production.   

BHP plans to spend $2.6 billion on two projects to boost output at the mine, while Rio's share of the projects is $1.4 billion and Japanese consortium JECO, which holds a 12.5 percent stake, will cover the rest, they announced on Tuesday.   

The projects are designed to give the partners access to higher ore grades, with a new 152,000 tonnes a day concentrator plant and new mineral handling system.