UPDATE 1-Kazakhmys plans to boost cathode copper output in 2017

Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:33am EST

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By Mariya Gordeyeva

ALMATY Dec 11 (Reuters) - Kazakhmys Plc, the world's 10th largest copper miner, plans to boost copper cathode output to 500,000 tonnes in 2017 when two new large-scale projects come onstream, Chief Executive Oleg Novachuk said on Tuesday.

The company's copper production is expected to be between 285,000 and 295,000 tonnes in 2012, and growth projects are moving ahead on schedule, Novachuk said in October.

Novachuk told reporters on Tuesday that Kazakhmys planned to invest up to $1 billion in its production next year, compared with around $600 million in 2012.

"We plan to achieve the production level of 500,000 tonnes per year already in 2017," Novachuk said.

Kazakhstan-based Kazakhmys would launch output at the Central Asian nation's Bozshakol deposit in 2015, Novachuk said. The Aktogay project, Kazakhmys's second major project, is set to be launched in 2016, he added.

"Bozshakol and Aktogay, taken together, will add up around 180,000 tonnes in extra output by 2017," Novachuk said.

Kazakhmys will spend around $600 million on Bozshakol and Aktogay next year, he said.

The company said last week that its board had approved the Aktogay project, and development operations would start in the new year, funded by a $1.5 billion facility provided by China Development Bank last year.

"At this stage, we do not need additional funds from China, our own capacities are enough for financing," Novachuk said.

He said Kazakhmys was currently selling around 70 percent of its output to China and the rest to Europe.

Citing what he called conservative corporate estimates, Novachuk said copper price was expected to fluctuate between $7,000 and $8,000 per tonne next year.

"But this doesn't mean that our budget is based on these figures," he said. "Our budget is far more conservative."

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