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Antofagasta leaves guidance unchanged after quarterly copper production rises as expected

"We are on-track for another record-setting year with full year production expected to increase by up to 9% to 750-790,000 tonnes,” said chief executive Ivan Arriagada.

Antofagasta
The Centinela mine was the key driver of production growth

Antofagasta PLC (LON:ANTO) shares slipped on Wednesday as the FTSE 100-listed miner left its full-year copper production guidance unchanged after first quarter output grew in line with expectations.

Copper production in the first quarter increased 22.6% year-on-year to 188,600 tonnes, supported by higher throughput and grades, mainly at the Centinela mine.

READ: City broker questions Antofagasta’s strategy at Centinela copper project

Total copper output at Centinela gained 45.5% to 68,800 tonnes while the Los Pelambres mine produced 89,200 tonnes of copper, up 10.0% on a year ago.

However, group production was 14.3% lower than the previous quarter due to scheduled maintenance at Los Pelambres and Centinela.

A trade dispute between the US and China dragged benchmark copper prices down 17% last year.

Antofagasta started construction of a major infrastructure project at Los Pelambres in April. The company said the work would increase production by 15%.

"The high level of operating performance achieved in the second half of last year continues and we are on-track for another record-setting year with full year production expected to increase by up to 9% to 750-790,000 tonnes,” said chief executive Ivan Arriagada.

In late morning trading, shares in Antofagasta were 0.6% lower at 969.20p.

In a note to clients, analysts at RBC Capital repeated a ‘sector perform’ rating and 870p price target on Antofagasta shares.

Commenting on the update, they said: “A solid quarter from Antofagasta. Production was 3% behind our estimates but strong performance on net cash costs (5% better than our estimates) should keep the financial impact from the quarter neutral, especially with full-year production and cost guidance reiterated.”

 -- Adds analyst comment, updates share price --

Quick facts: Antofagasta PLC

Price: 891.6 GBX

LSE:ANTO
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Market Cap: £8.79 billion
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