First-half net earnings at BHP Billiton Group-majority owned Escondida copper mine in Chile dropped 52% year over year to US$527 million on lower sales revenues, Metal Bulletin reported Sept. 27, citing a statement from operating company Minera Escondida Ltda.
This compares with a net profit of US$1.09 billion in the corresponding year-ago period.
Sales revenues in the period fell 35% on a yearly basis to US$2.74 billion, on the back of lower copper prices as well as a decline in output.
For the six-month period ended June 30, the mine produced 539,824 tonnes of copper, a 22% decrease year over year. The company attributed the decline in output to lower copper ore grades.
Production comprised 369,704 tonnes of concentrates and 170,120 tonnes of cathodes.
Escondida’s costs totaled US$1.99 billion for the half-year period, reflecting a 30% year-over-year decrease. The cost reductions mainly reflect the mine's voluntary retirement plan and operational improvements, according to the operating company.
Rio Tinto has a 30% interest in the Escondida joint venture, with Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. holding 8.25% and 1.25%, respectively, and JX Nippon Mining Metals Corp holding a 3% stake.
BHP Billiton posted a massive loss attributable to shareholders of US$6.39 billion for its fiscal 2016 ended June 30, swinging from a profit of US$1.91 billion the year before.