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MMG says Las Bambas copper shipments back to normal, cuts 2020 guidance

10/26/2020 | 07:33am

* Community blockade was preventing shipments from reaching port

* Las Bambas expected to produce 305,000-315,000 T copper in 2020

* Previous guidance of 350,000-370,000 T was withdrawn amid virus

* MMG suspends mining at Kinsevere in DRC ahead of wet season

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Shipments from MMG Ltd's Las Bambas copper mine in Peru have returned to normal after nearly a week of disruption, the Hong Kong-listed company said on Monday, even as it slashed its output guidance for the mine in 2020 by more than 10%.

Trucking of concentrate from Las Bambas, one of the world's biggest copper mines, to the port of Matarani on the Pacific Ocean was affected last week as local communities blocked the area's main road.

"Inbound logistics continued to operate with restricted outbound logistics for approximately six days. Trucking and drawdown of stockpiles has resumed at normal levels," an MMG spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that production was not hit.

MMG, which is based in Melbourne but majority-owned by China Minmetals Corp, said in its third-quarter production report later on Monday that trucking had resumed on Oct. 23.

It had seen similar community disruption in January and February before coronavirus-related operating curbs led the company in April to officially withdraw its 2020 output guidance of 350,000-370,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate for Las Bambas.

MMG now anticipates production of 305,000-315,000 tonnes this year, it said in its third-quarter report, while cautioning that a "high degree of operational uncertainty remains".

Peru has reported 886,214 coronavirus cases - the 11th highest country total in the world - and 34,095 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

Las Bambas produced 84,086 tonnes of copper in concentrate in July-September, up 44% quarter-on-quarter but down 13% year-on-year. The mine's molybdenum output rose 153% year-on-year to 1,180 tonnes after work to reduce bottlenecks.

MMG also said it had decided to temporarily suspend mining activity at its Kinsevere copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of the upcoming wet season, but said stockpiles would ensure ore processing would not be affected until mining resumes in the second quarter of 2021.

It therefore maintained production guidance of 68,000-75,000 tonnes of copper cathode for Kinsevere in 2020. (Reporting by Tom Daly and Melanie Burton Editing by Uttaresh.V and David Holmes)

© Reuters 2020
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