Xstrata commences copper production at Peruvian mine

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Mining (Euronext: SMI.NX - news) giant Xstrata (Other OTC: XSRAF.PK - news) has revealed that its Antapcaccay mine in southern Peru started producing commercial grade copper at the start of the month and has already delivered its first shipment to customers.

The company said that its operations are continuing to ramp up to the nameplate processing capacity of 70,000 tonnes per day in the first half of 2013.

Antapaccay, which has a mine life of over 20 years, is expected to produce an average 160,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate a year in the initial years of production, plus gold and silver by-products.

Charlie Sartain, the Chief Executive of Xstrata Copper, said: "I am delighted to announce that we commenced production at our major Antapaccay project on schedule and in line with the original budget of $1.5bn, a significant achievement for a project undertaken through a period of industry inflation and global economic uncertainty.

"Antapaccay is the culmination of a strategy we initiated six years ago when we acquired the Tintaya operation in 2006. In this short space of time, we have added substantial value for the company, local communities and Peru through the successful management of the Tintaya mine; the confirmation of a further 1.3bn tonnes of mineral resources in the district; the completion of conceptual and feasibility studies for the Antapaccay development; and now with the construction of a major, long-life mine."

Total mineral (Madrid: 51020100.MA - news) resource estimates at Antapaccay had recently been raised by 30% to one billion tonnes at a grade of 0.49% copper using a cut-off grade of 0.15% copper, including gold and silver by-products. The mineral resources is said to contain five million tonnes of copper metal.