Kazakhmys first-half copper output falls 11% on maintenance

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ASTANA. July 27. KAZINFORM Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ), the biggest copper producer in Kazakhstan, said first-half output of the finished metal dropped by 11 percent as maintenance halted its Balkhash smelter and the grades of metal it delivered declined.

Output in the first half slid to 136,100 metric tons from 153,000 tons a year earlier, the London-based company said today in a statement. Second-quarter production rose 9 percent to 71,000 tons from the previous three months, when adverse weather also hit output, according to the statement.

"The decrease reflects the lower volume of copper in concentrate produced and the planned repairs to the Balkhash smelter during March and April 2012," the company said.

Copper output was 10 percent ahead of the estimate from Nomura Holdings Inc. and 17 percent better than the forecast at Liberum Capital Ltd., the two said today in separate notes.

Kazakhmys rose 1.8 percent to 675 pence by 11:26 a.m. in London trading, paring its loss for the year to 27 percent, Kazinform has learnt from Bloomberg.

Kazakhmys, seeking to boost output by about two-thirds to 500,000 tons a year by opening two mines, plans to start production at its Bozshakol project in 2015 and Aktogay in 2016. The company also began extracting ore from its Konyrat mine, shut in 2008 because of lower metal grades, it said.

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