Chilean mining company Antofagasta reported a drop of 4.7pc in copper production in 2020 compared to the previous year. Production in Q4 is up 13.6pc from the previous quarter. The company’s 2021 operational guidance for copper is expected between 730,000-760,000mt and 9,500-11,000mt of molybdenum.
The company produced 733,900mt of copper in 2020, in line with 2020 guidance but it dipped almost 5pc from the previous year on the back of lower grades at Centinela Concentrates. The company had forecast 2020 production between 725,000-755,000mt. In Q4, production is higher than previous quarter owing to higher throughput at all of Antofagasta operations.
Molybdenum production in Q4 totalled to 3,700mt, 8.8pc above previous quarter as a result of higher throughput at Los Pelambres. In 2020, 12,600mt of molybdenum was produced, up 8.6pc from 2019 but stayed within the guidance.
Copper sales in 2020 was down 4.4pc to 738,500mt compared to previous year. Sales in Q4 accounted for 202,200mt, up 24.7pc from the previous quarter.
The pandemic is expected to affect 2021, says the company, in terms of limiting transportation to and from site, hindering operations owing to new protocols put in place for social distancing. These restrictions are assumed to sustain, limiting on-site manpower to approximately 75pc of the original planned levels which might lead of extension of construction schedule of Los Pelambres. The expansion project was 45pc complete by December-end.