Antofagasta PLC on Wednesday reported a fall in copper production for the fourth quarter of the year compared with the earlier quarter, but said it was in line with guidance for the year. Here's what the Chile-based copper-mining company had to say:

 

On copper production:

 

"Group copper production in 4Q 2021 was 178,900 tons, 1.2% lower than in the previous quarter as lower water availability impacted throughput at Los Pelambres by 13.6%, mainly as a result of the previously advised drought."

 

"Group copper production for the full year was 721,500 tons, within the guidance range and 1.7% lower than last year mainly on expected higher grades at Centinela Concentrates, offset by expected lower grades and lower throughput at Los Pelambres."

 

"Copper production at Los Pelambres during the quarter was 74,300 tons, 8.4% lower than in the previous quarter as throughput reduced by 13.6%."

 

On gold production:

 

"Gold production for the full year was 252,200 ounces, 23.6% higher than in 2020 on higher grades at Centinela."

 

On molybdenum production:

 

"Molybdenum production in the quarter was 2,100 tons, 500 tons lower than in the previous quarter on lower throughput at Los Pelambres."

 

On cash costs:

 

"Cash costs before by-product credits in 2021 were $1.79/lb, 14.7% higher than last year due the stronger Chilean peso (4%), higher energy and diesel prices, and lower production."

 

"Cash costs before by-product credits in 4Q 2021 were $1.92/lb, 13c/lb higher than in 3Q 2021 due to higher input prices and the lower production at Los Pelambres."

 

"Net cash costs for the full year were $1.20/lb, below guidance and 5.3% higher than in 2020 due to higher cash costs before by-product credits partially offset by the 17c/lb increase in by-products credits on increased gold production and realized molybdenum price."

 

"Net cash costs in Q4 2021 were $1.35/lb, 19c/lb higher than in the previous quarter, reflecting the higher cash costs before by-products credits and the decrease in by-products credits."

 

On 2022 guidance:

 

"Group production in 2022 is expected to be 660,000-690,000 tons of copper, 170,000-190,000 ounces of gold and 8,500-10,000 tons of molybdenum."

"The copper and gold production reflect lower expected grades at Centinela concentrates and the temporarily reduced throughput at Los Pelambres because of the continued drought."

"It assumes there is no precipitation until the rainy season and the desalination plant starts operating in H2 2022. Copper production is expected to increase quarter on quarter throughout the year."

 

"Group cash costs in 2022 before and after by-product credits are expected to be $2.00/lb and $1.55/lb respectively, reflecting increased input costs, especially sulphuric acid (up 125%) at our cathode operations, and lower production at the group's two lowest cost operations, namely Los Pelambres and Centinela Concentrates. By-product credits are also expected to decrease as gold and molybdenum production falls."

 

"Capital expenditure in 2022 is expected to be $1.7 billion-$1.9 billion, as sustaining and mine development expenditure increase for the year to approximately $1.0 billion, and development expenditure continues on the Los Pelambres Expansion project and at Centinela, including the ongoing study and review work on the second concentrator."

"The final estimated capital expenditure to complete the Los Pelambres Expansion remains under review due primarily to Covid-19 impacts."

 

On exceptional items:

 

"During 2021 there was an exceptional item of $91 million which reflects the recognition of a deferred tax asset at Antucoya, due to the increased consensus copper price forecasts resulting in higher forecast taxable profits."

 

Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 19, 2022 03:11 ET (08:11 GMT)

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