During the first half of the year, production from the four Antofagasta Minerals companies reached 295,500 metric tons (mt) of fine copper, a 10% increase compared to the same period of the previous year. Gold production was 86,200 oz and molybdenum production reached 4,900 mt. The company has also confirmed that it will invest $1.9 billion in capital projects during 2023.

“Compared to the same period in 2022, the company’s net cash cost for copper decreased to $1.75/lb despite inflationary pressures, which reflects the effectiveness of our efforts in cost control,” said Iván Arriagada, executive president of Antofagasta Minerals.

Start-up of the Complementary Infrastructure project (INCO) of Minera Los Pelambres, which includes the construction and commissioning of a 400-l/s seawater desalination plant has been delayed due to the persistent drought in the Coquimbo region, and storm surges caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon. As a result, Antofagasta Minerals had to update its fine copper production estimate for this year to a range of 640,000-670,000 mt, at a net cash cost of $1.65/lb, after by-product credits.

According to Arriagada, the expansion should be completed this quarter and not during the second. The company aims to increase processing capacity from 175,000 mt/d to an average of 190,000 mt/d of ore by adding a fourth grinding line, a new flotation line and the desalination plant, whose capacity will double in phase 2.