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Antofagasta produces 13% more copper, 27% more gold in FY'16

Antofagasta Plc posted a 12.5% increase in copper production in 2016, to 709,400 tonnes, and a 26.6% jump in gold production to 270,900 ounces, on a yearly basis.

The increase in copper output was driven by higher production at the Centinela mine and additional production from the new Antucoya and Zaldivar operations, partly offset by the closure of the Michilla mine at the end of 2015.

Gold production was also positively affected by better grades and throughput at Centinela, while molybdenum production at the Los Pelambres mine fell 29.7% on a yearly basis to 7,100 tonnes due to lower grades and recoveries.

In 2017, Antofagasta expects to produce 685,000 tonnes to 720,000 tonnes of copper, 185,000 ounces to 205,000 ounces of gold and 8,500 tonnes to 9,500 tonnes of molybdenum.

Group cash costs in 2017, before byproduct credits, are expected to stay around the same level as 2016 at US$1.55 per pound, while net cash costs are expected at about US$1.30 per pound, according to a Jan. 25 release.

Cash costs before byproduct credits for 2016 fell 27 cents per pound to US$1.54 per pound on the back of successful cost savings, higher production and the change in the estimation method for deferred stripping costs. Net cash costs for 2016 dropped 20% year over year to US$1.20 per pound.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, copper production increased 13.8%, to 205,500 tonnes, compared to the third quarter.

The quarter's gold output surged 29.7% to 91,100 ounces, while molybdenum production increased 5.3% to 2,000 tonnes.