Apr 26, 2012 MADRID (Dow Jones)--Kazakhstan's largest copper miner, Kazakhmys PLC (KAZ.LN), Thursday reaffirmed that it's on track to meet its full-year copper output target after taking into account a 13% drop in copper cathode production from its own concentrate due to lower copper in concentrate output.
The U.K.-listed miner said first quarter copper cathode equivalent production from its own production fell to 64,500 metric tons from 74,100 tons in the first quarter of 2011 due to lower volumes of copper in concentrate output, and an accumulation of work in progress, partly due to planned furnace repairs at the Balkhash smelter.
The FTSE-100 listed miner said it still remains on track to produce between 285,000 tons and 295,000 tons of copper cathode from its own concentrate this year and said that it remains on track to meet its by-product output targets in 2012.
"It has been a challenging start to the year with exceptionally low temperatures disrupting the transportation and processing of mined ore," said Kazakhmys' Chief Executive Oleg Novachuk. "However...stockpiles have been built up and will be processed over the course of the year, so that we remain on track with our annual targets," he added.
He also noted that contractors at Bozshakol, the company's first major growth project, were mobilized in April, a month ahead of schedule, and that an additional turbine at the Ekibastuz GRES-1 power station is due to be installed at the end of 2012, which will increase the coal-fired plant's generating capacity by 20%.
The power station, which is 50% owned by Kazakhmys, boosted it power output 11% on year to 3.96 terrawatt hours in the first quarter due to higher demand from Kazakhstan, which accounted for a 24% in the power station's domestic sales.
Kazakhmys also said that it has completed its outstanding sales of stockpiled gold to Kazakhstan's central bank for $115 million and has bought back 10.6 million shares under its $250 million share buy-back program at a cost of $150 million since September 2011.
Gold output from its own production rose 40% on year to 27,000 troy ounces as output in the same quarter a year ago was affected by repair work at the Balkhash precious metals plant.
At 0811 GMT, Kazakhmys' shares were up 0.2% or 2 pence at 884 pence a share. The company's shares are down 4.9% since the beginning of the year.