Antofagasta’s core earnings dropped 29% year-on-year in the first quarter as higher copper output was offset by lower prices, the UK-listed group said on Thursday May 16.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) for the three months to March 31 stood at $781.7 million, down from $1.11 billion a year earlier.

The company reported a 21% year-on-year drop in realised copper prices, which averaged $3.598 per lb ($7,930 per tonne) during the first three months of the year.

Earnings were also affected by “slightly higher” operating costs during the period, driven primarily by higher costs at Los Pelambres, after it entered a new power contract in January.

Antofagasta produced 183,800 tonnes of copper in the first quarter, up 12.8% year-on-year as plant throughput increased at Esperanza, but output was down 5.2% on a quarterly basis as a result of a scheduled outage at Los Pelambres, the group said.

Sales volumes, which totalled 170,000 tonnes, were affected moderately by shipment delays caused by port strikes in Chile in March and April.

Gold production stood at 86,200 oz, up 36%, while molybdenum output was 2,600 tonnes, down from 3,100 tonnes a year earlier.

Antofagasta shares traded at £9.15 on the London Stock Exchange at 1119 BST on Thursday, down 0.44% on the previous close.

Mark Burton
Twitter: @mburtonmb