Anglo American announced Monday it has started commercial operations at its Quellaveco project in Peru, but cut back production guidance for the mine in 2022 to 80,000-100,000 tonnes from 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes prior.
The mine is set to average 300,000 tonnes per year copper equivalent over its first decade of operations, making it the biggest new copper mine in the country since MMG’s Las Bambas in 2016.
Anglo CEO Duncan Wanblad said the mine will raise the London-listed company’s total global production by 10% in copper equivalent terms and take the diversified miner’s total copper production close to 1 million tonnes per year.
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Output at Quellaveco – which is entirely powered by renewable energy and employs autonomous drilling and haulage fleets – will be ramped up over the next 9-12 months.
Production guidance for Quellaveco in 2023 and 2024 is unchanged at 320,000-370,000 tonnes of copper. Anglo also said that cash costs at the operation are now pegged at $1.50 per pound, up from $1.35 previously.
The company also adjusted downwards its copper production guidance for Chile to 560,000-580,000 tonnes from its previous forecast of 560,000-600,000 tonnes, citing lower throughput at its Los Bronces operations, which have been hampered by water restrictions and “a change in ore characteristics”.
Anglo also upped average costs at its copper operations to $1.60 a pound from $1.50 before, reflecting lower volumes and inflation.
The copper price has been in retreat since hitting all-time highs in March and was last trading at $3.30 a pound ($7,275 a tonne) in New York, a 10-week low.