Snow hit Los Bronces in June, mine ramp-up on track: Anglo American
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Global miner Anglo American Plc's (AAL.L) prized Los Bronces copper mine was hit by snow in June, but is on track to complete its ramp-up by October, the company's head of copper, John MacKenzie, told Reuters on Friday.
The Chilean deposit - ironically previously known as La Disputada, or 'the disputed one' - is at the heart of a bitter option spat between Anglo and world no. 1 copper producer Codelco CODEL.UL.
Los Bronces plans to more than double annual output and could produce a peak of 490,000 tonnes of copper per year, positioning itself as the world's No. 5 copper mine.
"During May, we achieved 97 percent of design capacity, during June, we've been impacted by weather. But the plant itself is operating as we expect it to," Mackenzie said.
He declined to elaborate further on the weather's effects.
"We did forecast a 12 month ramp-up and where we are today is very close to design capacities being achieved. We just need to achieve that on a consistent basis now ... We're confident we're going to achieve our objectives."
World no. 1 copper producer Chile entered the Southern Hemisphere's winter in June. Los Bronces is 3,500 meters (11,482 feet) above sea level in the Andean foothills of south-central Chile.
State copper commission Cochilco's most recent data shows the Anglo Sur complex produced 34,400 tonnes of copper in April, down from 37,100 tonnes in March. Los Bronces produced 221,762 tonnes of copper last year, according to Anglo.
Anglo has asked to push back some of its copper contracts because Los Bronces' ramp-up has hit difficulties, one Chile-based copper trader said this week. It was not immediately possible to verify the claim.
Chilean mines, which produces around a third of the world's copper, have been hit by extreme weather, an uptick in labour action and dwindling ore grades.
(Reporting By Alexandra Ulmer; editing by Andre Grenon)
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