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Copper miner Antofagasta says unrest in Chile to hit output

Copper miner Antofagasta says unrest in Chile to hit output
FILE PHOTO: Copper concentrate is stockpiled in Punta Chungo port that is used to export copper from Antofagasta Minerals' key Los Pelambres Mine, located 220 km (197 miles) north of Santiago July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Caballero/File Photo -
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Victor Ruiz Caballero(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Antofagasta Plc <ANTO.L> on Wednesday warned that recent civil unrest in Chile, the top global copper producer, could hurt its production, even as it reported a 4.6% rise in quarterly output of the red metal.

The company, whose flagship mine Los Pelambres is 240 km north-east of Chilean capital Santiago, said the unrest could lead to problems with delivering supplies and employees to site and could hit output to the tune of about 5,000 tonnes.

The capital of the country has seen thousands of people holding successive, peaceful demonstrations this week, demanding an end to low wages and a high cost of living.

Further protests are expected on Wednesday, along with a general strike called in solidarity with the demonstrations that will include the union of top copper miner Codelco, opening a potentially new, damaging front in the crisis.

Antofagasta, which operates four mines in the South American country, reported third-quarter production of 197,000 tonnes, up from 188,300 tonnes in the year-ago period, but 0.8% lower than the previous quarter. This quarter’s net cash costs were $1.12 per pound.

The FTSE 100 company said it expected production next year to be 725-755,000 tonnes of copper and maintained its forecast of 750-790,000 tonnes for 2019.

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(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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