Pipeline leak cuts Antofagasta's copper production

Antofagasta's copper volumes fell by 23,000 tonnes following a pipeline leak at Los Pelambres, reducing first half copper production to 268,600 tonnes

Antofagasta's group copper production fell 6.5% in Q2 to 129,800 tonnes following a concentrate pipeline incident at Los Pelambres.

The incident shaved volumes by around 23,000 tonnes, although the pipeline resumed operation on June 26, and 12,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates stockpiled at a plant will be moved to port by October.

First half copper production fell 25.7% to 268,600 tonnes, at a net cash cost of $1.82/lb, as a resulf of a drought and pipeline closure, with quarterly group production falling 7.8% to 35,400oz.

Molybdenum production totalled 2,000 tonnes, the same as the previous quarter. For the year to date, production was 4,000 tonnes, 31% lower than in the same period last year due to lower throughput and grades at Los Pelambres.

CEO Iván Arriagada said reduced production levels and higher costs compared to last year reflect the expected impact of the drought and the temporary closure of the concentrate pipeline at Los Pelambres in June, as well as lower grades at Centinela Concentrates.

“Looking to the second half of the year, we expect production to increase quarter-on-quarter as throughput recovers at Los Pelambres with increased water availability, grades improve at Centinela Concentrates and as the copper in concentrates, stockpiled at Los Pelambres’ concentrator plant, is moved to the port," he said.

“The significant decline in the copper price since the beginning of June has reinforced our commitment to control costs, particularly during this period of higher input prices and general inflation.Following the pipeline incident at Los Pelambres, and the continued uncertainty about water availability, full year copper production is now expected to be 640–660,000 tonnes.

"The impact of this and the high current levels of inflation are partially offset by the weakening of the Chilean peso and we now estimate full year net cash cost guidance at $1.65/lb," he said. 

An expansion project at Los Pelambres is largely complete (82%) as at the end of the quarter and a review is underway to ensure enhanced safety conditions are incorporated into pipeline operations ahead of a replacement, which is currently being permitted and is expected to be completed in 2025.

From April this year all mining operations have been operating solely using renewable energy significantly reducing the company’s Scope 2 emissions.


Featured Articles

EU 2023 Figures show Mining has Stalled on GHG Emissions

European Union figures from Eurostat show that – although EU GHG emissions fell in 2023 – mining made no progress, with coal mining the worst culprit

Rio Tinto, not Anglo American, 'is BHP's Real Target'

As Anglo American restructures in face of takeover bid, experts believe BHP's real target is Rio Tinto, the world's second largest metals & minerals miner

Anglo American Rejects Latest BHP Bid for Copper Supremacy

As Anglo American rebuffs BHP Group's $42bn takeover bid we profile the huge Anglo-owned copper mines that BHP has in its sights

Investing in America Boost for US Critical Minerals Mining

Supply Chain & Operations

Australia Looks to Loosen China's Grip on Critical Minerals

Supply Chain & Operations

EY: Silver Miners' Sustainability & Supply Challenge

Smart Mining