Oz Minerals vows to double copper production as profit falls

Carrapateena project site. Image by Oz Minerals.

Oz Minerals Ltd., the Australian miner that knocked back a takeover bid from BHP Group earlier this month, says it plans to more-than-double copper production to capitalize on the global push to electrify industry and move away from fossil fuels.

The company, which on Friday reported half-year profits had almost halved, said it’s on track to produce 120,000 to 135,000 tons of copper this year, but plans to ramp that up to 340,000 tons over the “next growth phase,” without giving a clear timeline. The metal is a vital ingredient for electrical devices and networks.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cole said in a statement the world was “on the cusp of a significant deficit in key modern minerals at a time when demand will rapidly intensify,” and Oz Minerals was “uniquely placed to capitalize on” that. The company was also looking to prioritize nickel production, he added.

Oz Minerals reported earnings before interest and tax for the first half of 2022 of A$197 million ($137 million), down from A$388 million in the same period last year. The company pinned the drop on falling copper prices and lower output as a result of pandemic-related absenteeism and poor weather. Copper sales were down 4% and gold sales declined 21% in the period, it said.

(By James Fernyhough)

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