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Antofagasta's half-year profit soars, cuts copper output

By Reuters

LONDON – Chilean miner Antofagasta saw its half-year profit soar to $1.784 billion, from $388 million in the same period of 2020, but cut its copper output guidance for the year after drought affected operations.

It said it would pay an interim dividend of 23.6 cents per share, reflecting higher copper and gold prices and more than triple its payout a year ago.

The company joins rivals Anglo American and Glencore among others in declaring bonanza payouts after a rebound in demand for commodities buoyed profits.

It revised its full-year guidance to 710,000 tonnes to 740,000 tonnes of copper at a net cash cost of $1.25 per pound and capital expenditure of $1.6 billion, from 730,000 tonnes to 760,000 tonnes previously, as 2021 proves to be Chile’s driest for 12 years.

The London-listed miner, majority owned by Chile’s Luksic family, said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to a record $2.4 billion in the first six months of 2021, compared to $2.7 billion for the whole of 2020.

“Our key growth projects are on track and we remain focused on operating discipline and cost control, while producing copper responsibly and sustainably for all our stakeholders,” Antofagasta Chief Executive Iván Arriagada said.

Soaring copper prices broke records earlier this year and Chile, which produces nearly 30% of the world’s output, largely maintained it even during the worst of the pandemic.

Antofagasta’s interim payout in the first half of 2020 totalled 6.2 cents per share in line with its policy of paying a minimum of 35% of underlying net earnings.