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Kaz Minerals reports 7.4% rise in copper output, reaffirms annual forecast

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(Reuters) – Kaz Minerals <KAZ.L> on Thursday reported record copper production in the third quarter as it ramped-up operations at its biggest mines in Kazakhstan, putting it on track to achieve full-year targets for copper output.

The London-listed miner said copper production for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 7.4% to 82.9 kilo tonnes (kt).

Copper production also handily topped Jefferies estimates of 76.1 kt, as output at its open pit mine Bozshakol benefited from an increase in ore throughput and higher grades in the quarter, the Kazakhstan-focused miner said.

Production at its biggest mine Aktogay rose 6.9% to 37.3 kt in the quarter.

Kaz, which accounts for a large part of Kazakhstan’s metal production, continues to expect annual copper output of about 300 kt, helped by higher quality ore from Bozshakol.

The affirmation of its guidance comes at a time when copper prices <CMCU3> have been hit by this year by concerns over a prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war and a slowdown in the world’s top metals consumer China.

The company’s debt increased to $2.64 billion from $2.56 billion in last quarter, mainly due to higher spending to expand its Aktogay project.

Kaz Minerals is working on expanding Aktogay mine to double its processing capacity, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Shares of Kaz Minerals rose nearly 2% in early trade.

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru, Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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