October 27, 2016 / 9:49 AM / 3 years ago

Kaz Minerals' nine-month copper output jumps 66 percent on expanded mines

LONDON (Reuters) - Kaz Minerals (KAZ.L) reported a 66 percent jump in production between January and September on Thursday as two of its main mines raised output, sending shares in the Kazakhstan copper firm to a two-year high.

Kaz produced 97,100 tonnes of copper cathode in the nine-month period, compared with 58,400 tonnes a year earlier.

The company maintained its 2016 copper output guidance at between 135,000 tonnes and 145,000 tones, up from 81,000 tonnes 2015.

Shares in London-listed Kaz, which have nearly trebled in value this year, were up 3.7 percent to 293 pence by 0824 GMT, a level last seen in September 2014.

“The market has begun to appreciate the value implications of the ramp-up of its two growth projects, alongside low operating costs from large open pit, modern mines,” the company said.

Analysts have looked to this week’s production reports for signs the mining sector is recovering from last year’s commodity price rout.

On Tuesday, Anglo American (AAL.L) extended gains of well over 250 percent this year after announcing production broadly in line with guidance, while on Wednesday Antofagasta’s (ANTO.L) production miss pushed share prices lower.

Faced with low copper prices, which hit 6-1/2-year lows in January, copper miners have opted to cut costs rather than output.

The low-cost Bozshakol mine and Aktogay open-pit mine now account for about 90 percent of total output, the company said.

Kaz also produces gold, silver and zinc, which have all staged a comeback in 2016.

But copper prices have barely moved this year, underperforming most industrial metals as demand from top metals consumer China wanes.

Benchmark copper CMCU3 was trading around $4,800 a tonne on Thursday.

Larger rival Codelco [COBRE.UL] announced this month it would delay $2.25 billion in planned investment due to weak prices.

Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; editing by Susan Fenton and Jason Neely

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