Antofagasta upbeat on copper prices despite trade tensions
Antofagasta said the outlook for copper prices was good despite global trade tensions as the world moves to reduce carbon emissions.
The Chile-focused copper miner's chairman, Jean-Paul Luksic, told the company's annual meeting the copper market remained tight "with the outlook for 2019 and beyond positive for copper prices".
Luksic said the short-term picture was clouded by uncertainty created by trade disputes as the US and China, the world's biggest economies, confront each other over tariffs and access.
But he added: "We are firm believers that a low carbon economy needs metals, particularly copper which allows the efficient use of electricity and is a critical element in renewable energy and electromobility. With our growing production, new developments underway and an attractive portfolio of future projects, we are well positioned to meet this demand with our next phase of considered growth."
Luksic told shareholders the FTSE 100 miner had record production last year and achieved improved operating efficiency. Construction at the company's Los Pelambres site in Chile is under way and the first phase will add an average of 60,000 tonnes of copper production each year, he said.
"I have no doubt that the future will bring many new opportunities and challenges. What I have learnt though is that by focusing on running safe and efficient operations, maintaining our costs and managing our development programmes, we will continue to succeed," Luksic said. "2018 was a year of good progress for our company and we are well positioned to continue executing our strategy over the coming years."