IntierraRMG says early production announcements for the December 2012 quarter demonstrate positive growth in the metals sector compared with the previous three months.  1

The global reporting and intelligence company confirms in its quarterly State of the Market report that the weighted average of all results announced in the December quarter show an 18% increase in gold output, 6% rise in copper and 3% increase in iron ore production. The most significant increases for these metals occurred in Africa and Asia.

The major contributing factor in the Asian gold spike is the end to production delays at Centerra Gold’s Kumtor project in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Intierra’s editorial director Chris Hinde says a number of African and North American mines have shown strong gold production increases. “Goldcorp’s cornerstone mine, Red Lake, ended the year with operational stability, a strong production result and newly discovered mineralized zones. The latter hold the potential to contribute the production profile over the longer term.”

The biggest actual increase in copper production resulted at the massive Escondida mine where production benefitted from a transition to higher-grade ore feed and the completion of a maintenance program to increase concentrator throughput.

Two major Australian iron ore mines also featured in the report with sharp increases in production at the Chichester Range and Yandi operations. Chichester Range’s result contributed to a Fortescue announcement in December 2012 that it achieved an annual shipping rate of 100 million tonnes.

Supply trends are reported by assessing new mine openings each quarter, and Barrick Gold’s 60%-owned Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic is among the December quarter mines to begin operations. The 25.3 million ounce project is ramping up to full annual capacity of up to 650,000 ounces.

Meantime, production at Rio Tinto’s Benga coal mine in Mozambique continues to ramp up, and magnetite production has also featured in the Intierra report with Gindalbie Metals producing the first concentrate at its Karara project.

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