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Xstrata production shows ups and downs

One of Xstrata’s
many mining operations
Zug, Switzerland — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 May 2009 – Swiss-based Xstrata – the fifth largest diversified metals and mining company in the world – has increased its year-on-year thermal coal, coking coal, nickel, platinum-group metals (PGMs), and zinc-in –concentrate production, while its copper output was marginally lower and chrome plunged by 76%.

Releasing Xstrata’s interim management statement and Q1 production report for the first quarter of 2009 here, the company attributed the substantial drop in chrome production to the suspension of 17 of 20 furnaces – equivalent to some 80% of annual production capacity.

The report added that total mined copper production was marginally lower than last year.

It said platinum volumes had increased by 18% compared to the first quarter of last year, mainly due to increased supply of 113 000 tonnes of UG2 ore to the mill, and improved feed grade at Eland, resulting in higher recoveries.

Total mined nickel production in the first quarter of 2009 increased by 29% compared to the same period last year, due to higher volumes from Xstrata Nickel Australasia (XNA), improved volumes and grades at Raglan, and high-grade ores from initial production at the Nickel Rim South project in Sudbury.

Zinc in concentrate production increased by 21% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, according to the report. Output increased due to the inclusion of the new Perseverance mine in Canada, which commenced production on 1 July 2008, and as a result of improved volumes at the majority of Xstrata Zinc’s operations.

The report went on to say that total consolidated coal production for the first quarter of 2009 had increased by 1.4 million tonnes, or 7.7% on the corresponding period in 2008, due to the inclusion of production from the newly acquired Prodeco operations, which had contributed 2.4 million tonnes since the effective date for the transaction of 1 January 2009.