* 9-month EBITDA $2.5 bln vs $1.96 bln yr-ago
* Q3 EBITDA $558.8 mln vs $898.8 mln yr-ago
* Shares underperform rising mining sector
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON, Nov 24 Chilean miner Antofagasta
posted a 28 percent rise in nine-month profit, lifted
by improved production and an increase in gold sales that helped
offset bad weather and an accountancy hit after copper prices
fell steeply in the third quarter.
Unusually severe weather in Chile's arid north -- snow, rain
and heavy winds in July -- caused delays in planned shipments of
copper from Antofagasta's Los Pelambres and Esperanza mines,
meaning copper sales volumes came in below production.
Antofagasta also felt the impact of a 26 percent drop in
copper prices over the third quarter. That resulted in negative
adjustments to provisional sales -- volumes that are still in
the pipeline at the end of the quarter and which are priced
temporarily to meet accountancy standards and adjusted later.
The London-listed miner's third-quarter earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at
just under $559 million, down from $899 million last year,
broadly within the range of analysts' expectations.
"All you are doing is basically rebalancing the book,"
Charles Cooper at Oriel Securities said, explaining the
adjustment and the swing in core profit. "It is just
accountancy. Over the year it should average out."
Analysts said a recovery in prices from the third quarter's
lows could reverse the effect in the final quarter.
Antofagasta's shares were up 1.7 percent at 1230 GMT,
underperforming a 2.5 percent rise in the broader UK mining
Over the nine months, the impact of the price adjustments on
revenues totalled $390.3 million.
For that period to the end of September, revenues rose
almost 32 percent and EBITDA climbed 28 percent to $2.5 billion,
as the impact of prices still above 2010, improved production
and improved gold sales helped offset the weather and price hit.
The miner said realised prices in the nine months were
almost 15 percent above 2010.
Earlier this month, the miner had posted a more than 17
percent increase in third-quarter copper production and said it
was on track to meet its 2011 target. Over the nine months,
copper production was up 15.2 percent.
Antofagasta also said on Thursday that its Pakistan joint
venture with Canada's Barrick Gold, Tethyan Copper, was
"considering its options for further courses of action" after
local authorities rejected a mining lease application for the
Reko Diq copper-gold project.