Antofagasta, the Anglo-Chilean copper miner, announced its commitment to achieving its copper-production target for 2024. This target reflects the expansion of its Los Pelambres project and underlines the crucial role copper plays in the global energy transition.
In 2023, Antofagasta produced a total of 660,600 metric tons of copper, surpassing its previous year’s production of 646,200 tons. This increase was primarily driven by the production at Los Pelambres. Antofagasta had set a target range of producing between 640,000 and 670,000 tons of copper.
During the fourth quarter, copper production reached 191,500 tons, slightly lower than the 195,700 tons produced in the same quarter of 2022.
Experts at Goldman Sachs predict that copper prices will experience further growth in 2024. This projection is based on a widening supply deficit and increasing demand for copper, which is a vital component in the global shift towards green energy. In a recent research note, they highlighted the significance of copper in the energy transition.
Antofagasta’s gold production for the full year of 2023 saw a notable increase of 18%, totaling 209,100 ounces. Additionally, molybdenum production rose by 13% to reach 11,000 tons for the year. However, in the fourth quarter, molybdenum production fell by 9% to 2,900 tons, primarily due to lower recoveries at the Centinela project.
The net cash costs remained consistent with the previous year at $1.61 per pound, exceeding expectations.
Looking ahead to 2024, Antofagasta maintains its expectation of producing between 670,000 and 710,000 tons of copper. Net cash costs are projected to be $1.60 per pound, while the company anticipates a capital expenditure of $2.7 billion.
Chief Executive Ivan Arriagada expressed confidence in the stability of copper prices in 2023 and stressed the fundamental role of copper in the energy transition and electrification. He believes this will contribute to the robustness of long-term pricing.
Retrieved from: The Wall Street Journal