Coronavirus Update

Antofagasta PLC Q2 2021 Production Report

This content has been sourced from: https://www.investegate.co.uk/antofagasta-plc--ant...

Q2 2021 PRODUCTION REPORT

PRODUCTION AND COSTS IN LINE WITH GUIDANCE

 

Antofagasta plc CEO, Iván Arriagada said: "The cost and production performance over the first half of this year was in line with guidance and supports our strong track record of resilience and operational excellence. We produced 361,500 tonnes of copper at a net cash cost of $1.14/lb over the period and retain guidance for the full year at 730-760,000 tonnes of copper at a net cash cost of $1.25/lb and capital expenditure of $1.6 billion.

"We continue to proactively manage the risks of COVID-19 on the Company's operations and projects and expect that as the successful national vaccination rollout continues in Chile, the restrictions that have been imposed will continue to be lifted, leading to a loosening of region-specific restrictions on movement.  

"The copper, gold and molybdenum markets have been strong throughout the first half of the year, with copper trading two-thirds higher than last year at well over $4.00/lb. As vaccination levels increase around the world, the global economy is expected to continue to recover strongly from the pandemic providing further support for the copper market."

 

HIGHLIGHTS

PRODUCTION

· Group copper production in Q2 2021 was 178,400 tonnes, a decrease of 2.5% compared to the previous quarter, mainly because of lower recoveries at Centinela Cathodes and expected lower grades at Zaldívar

· Group copper production in the first six months of the year was 361,500 tonnes, in line with expectations and 2.8% lower than in the same period last year mainly because of lower grades

· Gold production for the quarter increased by 3.9% to 61,400 ounces compared with Q1 mainly due to higher grades at Centinela, and for the first six months increased by 8.5% to 120,500 ounces

· Molybdenum production was 2,800 tonnes, some 200 tonnes lower than previous quarter. For the year to date, production was 5,800 tonnes, 5.5% higher than in the same period last year

CASH COSTS

· Cash costs before by-product credits in the quarter were $1.77/lb, 9c/lb higher than in the first quarter and for the first half of the year were $1.73/lb, 14.6% higher than in the same period last year primarily because of the stronger Chilean peso (11%), higher energy and diesel prices, and the lower copper production

· Net cash costs were $1.13/lb in Q2 2021 and $1.14/lb for the first half of the year, a 2.6% decrease compared with the previous quarter but 1.8% higher than in the first half of 2020. This was primarily due to higher cash costs before by-product credits, offset by higher by-product credits on higher realised prices

· Centinela's net cash costs were $1.08/lb, its lowest ever over a six-month period, benefitting from a consistent high level of throughput and strong by-product credits

2021 GUIDANCE

·Full year guidance is unchanged at 730-760,000 tonnes of copper at a net cash cost of $1.25/lb. Los Pelambres and Centinela have performed strongly in the first half of the year, and Zaldívar's and Antucoya's cash costs are expected to continue at a similar level as in H1. However, so far this year precipitation at Los Pelambres has been significantly less than in 2019, which was itself the driest year of the current 12-year drought. Strict water management protocols are in place and various options are being evaluated to mitigate the risk of the impact of the reduced rainfall, in case this situation continues. Guidance assumes minimum required precipitation levels resume over the balance of the year and is therefore subject to water availability.  

·Capital expenditure for the year is currently expected to be in line with original guidance at $1.6 billion, although as COVID-19 infection rates continue to fall, opportunities to accelerate the execution of selected capital expenditure will continue to be evaluated

SUSTAINABILITY

· During the quarter the Company announced new emissions targets to reduce its direct and indirect GHG emissions by 30%, or by 730,000 tonnes of CO2e by 2025 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

·The Company became the first mining company to join the Chilean Hydrogen Association, which promotes the development of green hydrogen and aims to accelerate the transition of its mining fleet from diesel to hydrogen

· The Company joined a group of leading mining companies in the Charge On Innovation Challenge, to develop solutions for large-scale haul truck electrification systems to reduce consumption of diesel and cut emissions

· During H1, the Company extended by an equal amount its original $6 million COVID-19 fund which provides health, economic and general support to local communities

OTHER

· As at the end of H1 the Los Pelambres Expansion project was 52.0% complete and is expected to be completed in H2 2022 in line with guidance. The desalination plant and related marine works have progressed on schedule and have been minimally impacted by COVID-19 given the dispersed nature of the site and small construction teams involved

· At the end of June, adverse weather conditions at the ports temporarily delayed some 15,000 tonnes of shipments over the period end, mostly at Centinela. The delayed shipments were shipped in early July and will therefore be recorded as sales in Q3

· Inflationary pressure on costs has to date been moderate and mainly arising from higher commodity prices, such as for diesel, acid and energy, and the depreciation of the Chilean peso, but with no evidence of wage inflation or other permanent price effects on local goods and services

· Having moved from the lower house of Congress to the Senate, the proposed new mining royalty continues to be debated in the legislature. The Senate is not restricted to the specific terms of the proposal presented by the lower house and is currently receiving evidence from a much broader base of interested parties including academics and mining industry representatives

· The Constitutional Assembly, which was elected to develop a new constitution within a twelve-month period, met for the first time in July and has started work. At the end of this period, a national referendum will be held to approve or reject the proposed constitution

GROUP PRODUCTION AND CASH COSTS

Year to Date

Q2

Q1

 

 

 

2021

2020

%

2021

2021

%

Copper production

kt

361.5

371.7

(2.8)

178.4

183.0

(2.5)

Copper sales

kt

346.1

374.2

(7.5)

163.4

182.8

(10.6)

Gold production

koz

120.5

111.1

8.5

61.4

59.1

3.9

Molybdenum production

kt

5.8

5.5

5.5

2.8

3.0

(6.7)

Cash costs before by-product credits (1)

$/lb

1.73

1.51

14.6

1.77

1.68

5.3

Net cash costs (1)

$/lb

1.14

1.12

1.8

1.13

1.16

(2.6)

(1) Cash cost is a non-GAAP measure used by the mining industry to express the cost of production in US dollars per pound of copper produced.