Chile’s Escondida mine boosts BHP copper output

Chile’s Escondida mine boosts BHP copper output

Escondida mine.

Copper output at BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), the world's largest miner, jumped 1.8% during its fourth fiscal quarter to 470,000t from 461,700t in the same period last year as a result of improvements at the miner’s Escondida mine in Chile.

Delivering its operational review for the year ending on June 30, BHP noted improvements at the mine mill throughput and concentrator utilization offset declining ore grades at the world's largest copper mine.

BHP said its with a 57.5%-owned Escondida remains "on track to produce approximately 1.27Mt of copper in the 2015 financial year," though it noted that a power outage in northern Chile earlier this month, and a programmed six-day maintenance shutdown at the Laguna Seca concentrator, will impact production in the quarter ending in September.

The company's other Chilean copper asset, the Pampa Norte division that includes the Spence and Cerro Colorado mines, reported a 3.2% production increase to 66,800t in FQ4, while production for the full fiscal year was 233,100t, in line with the 232,600t reported in fiscal 2013.

BHP is scheduled to release full-year earnings on August 19.