Lower copper price hits Antofagasta Q1 profit

LONDON Thu May 16, 2013 2:16am EDT

LONDON May 16 (Reuters) - Chilean copper miner Antofagasta posted a 29 percent drop in first-quarter core profit on Thursday, as lower prices for its red metal and slightly higher operating costs offset increased production.

Antofagasta said the realised price for its copper in the quarter dropped to 341.1 cents per pound from 429.6 cents per pound in the first quarter of 2012. On the London Metal Exchange, copper averaged 359.8 cents per pound during the first quarter of this year, compared with 376.9 cents a year ago.

The miner said core profit, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), fell to just under $782 million compared with $1.1 billion a year ago. Revenues dropped almost 15 percent to $1.5 billion.

Earlier this month, Antofagasta reported a 13 percent rise in first quarter copper production.

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