London-listed Antofagasta will lower its 2023 production guidance when it reports its third-quarter results later this month, following a delay in the completion of the desalination plant project, which is key to water availability at the Los Pelambres mine in Chile.
Marine construction work on the desalination plant project was halted in September, after severe sea swells overturned a construction platform the previous month. The environmental regulator ordered the suspension of work pending the recover of the lost equipment and materials.
The restriction expired on October 3 and has not been extended.
Antofagasta says sea conditions continue to prevent the complete recovery of all the lost equipment and this has prevented the resumption of marine construction work. The company is finalising a revised schedule for the project.
Antofagasta, however, expects that the water availability at Los Pelambres this year will allow the group to achieve the lower end of the already-lowered 640 000 t to 660 000 t guidance range.
The delay in the completion of the plant will impact on the estimated production for next year by about 30 000 t.