Copper - An 11% increase in copper production in the June 2012 quarter established strong momentum in our Base Metals business. At Escondida (Chile), production increased by 22 per cent as mining activities progressed towards higher grade ore, consistent with the mine plan. This strong performance was also supported by quarterly and annual material mined, mill throughput and copper production records at Antamina (Peru) following the successful commissioning of the expansion project.
Escondida copper production is forecast to increase by approximately 20% in the 2013 financial year. Successful completion of both the Escondida Ore Access and Laguna Seca debottlenecking projects will facilitate a rise in Escondida copper production to over 1.3 million tonnes (100 per cent basis) in the 2015 financial year.
At 30 June 2012 the Group had 278,547 tonnes of outstanding copper sales that were revalue at a weighted average price of USD 3.49 per pound. The final price of these sales will be determined in the 2013 financial year. In addition, 239,156 tonnes of copper sales from the 2011 financial year were subject to a finalisation adjustment in 2012. This finalisation adjustment and the provisional pricing impact as at 30 June 2012 will decrease earnings before interest and tax by USD 265 million in the 2012 financial year.
Lead/silver - Production for the 2012 financial year was in line with the prior period.
Zinc - Production at Antamina declined during the 2012 financial year as mining progressed through a copper-rich ore zone.
Uranium - Production for the 2012 financial year was broadly in line with the prior period.
|Copper ('000 tonnes)||1,094.5||312.5||-4%||15%||11%|
|Silver ('000 ounces)||41,308||11,539||-3%||17%||19%|
|Uranium oxide concentrate (tonnes)||3,885||1,080||-4%||6%||21%|
Source - BHP Billiton