Global base metals miner MMG expects copper production at its Las Bambas mine in Peru at the lower end of its guidance of 310,000-330,000mt in 2021 due to uncertainty surrounding the approvals process for the Chalcobamba project.
This, despite the company’s overall production of the red metal improving by 10pc in H1 2021 to 145,514mt compared to the same period last year.
The miner is still struggling to get approvals to begin Chalcobamba, the expansion project for Las Bambas amid a change in the Peruvian government and other factors related to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. However, once the project is completed, Las Bambas is expected to produce over 400,000mt of copper per year.
In Q2 2021, the company’s copper production stood at 80,676mt, up 37pc from the same quarter last year and 24pc from Q1 2021. Around 80,000mt of this production was produced at Las Bambas with the balance from the miner’s Rosebery mine.
MMG’s copper cathode production from its Kinsevere mine, however, reduced by 31pc in H1 2021 to 25,123mt from the same timeframe last year. It also fell by 31pc to 12,632mt in Q2 2021 against the same quarter of 2020 but improved by 1pc from the prior quarter.
MMG has kept its pricing outlook for copper unchanged as it expects high demand for the metal to continue into the second half of the year as well. In Q2 2021 copper prices averaged $4.40/lb up from $2.43/lb in Q2 2020 and $3.86/lb in the previous quarter.
Zinc and lead production
MMG’s zinc output from its Dugald River and Rosebery mines grew by 12pc in H1 2021 to 126,526mt from the same timeframe last year. However, in Q2, production of this metal dropped by 3pc to 58,137mt annually and by 15pc from Q1 2021.
Lead output from the two mines also improved in the first half of the year, up 14pc to 23,567mt against H1 2020. Lead production in the second quarter also improved by 4pc to 11,141mt annually but fell by 10pc from the previous quarter.