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Kazakhmys PLC (KAZ)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Monday 30 April, 2007

Kazakhmys PLC

Q1 Production Summary

Kazakhmys PLC
30 April 2007


                                                                 30th April 2007

                        Kazakhmys PLC Production Summary
                   for the first quarter ended 31 March 2007

• In the quarter ended 31 March 2007, copper cathode production, excluding
  copper produced through tolling arrangements, grew by 12 per cent and copper
  in concentrate production increased by 10 per cent, compared to the first
  quarter of 2006. Copper cathode produced from own concentrate increased by 9
  per cent over the same period as a result of increasing production from the
  recently commissioned Artemyevskoe, Zhomart and Kosmurun mines.

• Zinc in concentrate production was 2 per cent lower due to lower
  production at the Nikolayevskoe mine following land slips that occurred in
  the second quarter of 2006 and the absence of production at the Abyz mine,
  which was closed for major stripping works in the fourth quarter of 2006.
  Zinc metal production was 18 per cent lower compared to the first quarter of
  2006 as more zinc concentrate was allocated for sale rather than for further
  processing into zinc metal. Zinc ore extraction at the Kosmurun mine
  commenced in January 2007 and has been stockpiled to be processed in the
  second quarter once the Karagaily concentrator upgrade is completed.

• Own gold and silver production decreased by 17 and 4 per cent,
  respectively, compared to the levels achieved in the first quarter of 2006.
  The decrease in refined gold production was the result of a delay in the
  processing of concentrate with high precious metals content. This
  concentrate was processed late in March and charged to work-in-progress at
  the quarter end.




Copper

Kazakhmys Group Copper Production

                                   Q1 2007   Q1 2006
----------------------------------------------------
Ore extraction           '000 t      8,931     9,839
Average copper grade        %         1.25      1.07
Average zinc grade*         %         3.71      3.98

Copper in Concentrate    '000 t      104.7      95.0
own concentrate          '000 t       93.5      84.7
purchased concentrate    '000 t       11.2      10.3

Copper Cathodes**        '000 t       99.7      89.1
own concentrate          '000 t       83.8      76.8
purchased concentrate    '000 t       15.3      11.6
tolling concentrate      '000 t        0.6       0.7
Copper Rod               '000 t        9.0       5.3
----------------------------------------------------

* Complex ores only

** Includes copper used to produce copper rod


In the first quarter of 2007, the Group produced 99.7 thousand tonnes of copper
cathode (of which 9.0 thousand tonnes were used to produce copper rods), a 12
per cent increase compared to the first quarter of 2006. Copper cathode
production from own concentrate increased by 9 per cent compared to the same
period of 2006, and amounted to 83.8 thousand tonnes. Production through tolling
arrangements decreased from 0.7 to 0.6 thousand tonnes.

The increased production volume from own concentrate was primarily the result of
improved copper grades, which rose from 1.07 to 1.25 per cent compared to the
first quarter of 2006, partly driven by output from the newer mines (Zhomart and
Kosmurun mines) whose copper content in ore is higher than the Group's average.


By-products

Kazakhmys Group By-products Production

                                   Q1 2007   Q1 2006
----------------------------------------------------
Zinc in Concentrate     '000 t        38.6      39.2
Zinc Metal              '000 t        14.9      18.2
----------------------------------------------------

Silver                 '000 oz       5,022     5,249
 own production        '000 oz       5,017     5,226
 tolling               '000 oz           5        23
----------------------------------------------------

Gold                   '000 oz        34.0      35.1
 own production        '000 oz        19.2      23.2
 tolling               '000 oz        14.8      11.9
----------------------------------------------------


Zinc metal production in the first quarter of 2007 was 14.9 thousand tonnes, an
18 per cent decrease from the 18.2 thousand tonnes produced in the corresponding
period of 2006. The drop in production was the result of lower throughput
capacity, caused by ongoing technical issues at the Balkhash zinc plant. As a 
result, more zinc concentrate was allocated for sale, rather than for processing
into zinc metal. Consequently, zinc metal production for 2007 is expected to 
maintain levels similar to 2006. Meanwhile, zinc in concentrate production was 
38.6 thousand tonnes (as compared to 39.2 thousand tonnes in the Q1 2006), 
mainly due to lower production at the Nikolayevskoe mine following the land 
slips which occurred in the second quarter of 2006 and the planned closure of the 
Abyz mine for major stripping works, which, as stated previously, are expected to
be continued throughout 2007. The lower output from these mines was largely offset 
by an increasing contribution from the Artemyevskoe mine where zinc grades in
extracted ores exceeded 5 per cent per tonne and ore production increased by
almost 150 thousand tonnes compared to the first quarter of 2006.

Zinc ore extraction from the Kosmurun mine, which commenced in January 2007, was
stockpiled and will be processed in the second quarter of 2007 once the
Karagaily concentrator upgrade is completed.

In the first quarter of 2007, the Group also produced 5.0 million ounces of
silver and 34.0 thousand ounces of gold, a decrease of 4 and 3 per cent
respectively, compared to the first quarter of 2006. Of the 34.0 thousand ounces
of gold produced, 19.2 thousand ounces represented own production, a 17 per cent
decrease compared to the first quarter of 2006. The main reason for this
reduction in gold production was an increase in work-in-progress by 13.4
thousand ounces compared to the beginning of the year resulting from delays in
the processing of the concentrate from the Artemyevsky mine. The suspension of
ore extraction at the Abyz mine for stripping works was offset by increasing
production at the Nurkazgan and Kosmurun mines. Silver production was slightly
below the level achieved in the first quarter of 2006 as a result of decreased
output at the Zhezkazgan and East region mines. Of the 5.0 million ounces of
refined silver, production under tolling arrangements represented only 5
thousand ounces compared to 23 thousand in the first quarter of 2006.


Review by region

Zhezkazgan Complex

                                   Q1 2007   Q1 2006
----------------------------------------------------
Ore extraction           '000 t      6,300     6,824
Average copper grade        %         0.83      0.82
----------------------------------------------------

Copper Concentrate       '000 t      120.8     139.5
Copper in Concentrate    '000 t       46.5      49.2
Copper Cathodes*         '000 t       49.9      51.7
of which tolling         '000 t         --       0.3
Copper Rod               '000 t        9.0       5.3
----------------------------------------------------

* Includes copper used to produce copper rod


In the first quarter of 2007, ore extraction and copper cathode production at
the Zhezkazgan complex decreased by 8 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively,
compared to the first quarter of 2006, primarily due to lower ore production
volumes at: the Annensky mine caused by delays in installing ore transportation
equipment in the mining areas; the Stepnoy mine where repairs to the mineshaft
lifting equipment were carried out; and the Zhomart mine where conveyor equipment
for ore extraction was installed. The lower ore extraction volume was partially
offset by higher grades from the Zhomart mine, which contributed to a marginally
higher average copper grade being achieved in Zhezkazgan this quarter.


Copper rod production in the first quarter of 2007 increased to 9.0 thousand
tonnes from 5.3 thousand tonnes produced in the first quarter of 2006,
reflecting continued strong demand for copper rod from Chinese customers.


Balkhash Complex
                                   Q1 2007   Q1 2006
----------------------------------------------------
Ore extraction           '000 t        490     1,021
Average copper grade        %         1.25      0.82
----------------------------------------------------

Copper Concentrate       '000 t       41.2      48.9
Copper in Concentrate    '000 t        7.6       9.4
Copper Cathodes          '000 t       49.9      37.4
of which tolling         '000 t        0.6       0.4
Copper Rod               '000 t         --        --
----------------------------------------------------


At the Balkhash complex, ore extraction volumes in the first quarter of 2007
decreased by 52 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2006, due to a
temporary halt in production at the Kounrad mine for stripping works which will
continue into the second quarter of 2007. Ore production volumes were also
marginally lower at the Sayak mine due to problems with mining equipment. Decreased
production volumes of low copper grade ores at the Kounrad mine allowed
significant growth in the average ore grade at the Balkhash complex rising from
0.82 per cent to 1.25 per cent quarter on quarter. Copper cathode production in
the first quarter of 2007 was 33 per cent higher than in the corresponding
period of 2006 due to increased processing volumes of copper concentrate from
the Karaganda region and the procuring of third party purchased concentrate
carried forward from the fourth quarter of 2006.


East Region
                                   Q1 2007   Q1 2006
----------------------------------------------------
Ore extraction           '000 t      1,146     1,361
Average copper grade        %         2.69      2.42

Copper Concentrate*      '000 t      126.2     132.1
Copper in Concentrate    '000 t       23.7      23.5
Copper Cathodes          '000 t         --        --
Copper Rod               '000 t         --        --
----------------------------------------------------
* Excludes concentrate processed by third parties


In the first quarter of 2007, ore extraction volumes in the East Region were 16
per cent lower than in the same period of 2006 primarily due to lower production
volumes at the Nikolayevskoe mine where production was switched from open pit to
underground mining following a number of land slips during 2006. This was
partially offset by an increasing contribution from the ramp up of the
Artemyevskoe mine. Copper in concentrate production was at a level similar to
that in the first quarter of 2006 due to the average copper grade increasing in
the region from 2.42 to 2.69 per cent, driven by higher copper grades at the
Artemyevskoe and Orlovskoe mines, where grades increased from 1.66 to 1.70 per
cent and from 4.27 to 4.54 per cent, respectively.


Karaganda Region
                                   Q1 2007   Q1 2006
----------------------------------------------------
Ore extraction           '000 t        995       633
Average copper grade        %         2.27      1.23
----------------------------------------------------

Copper Concentrate       '000 t       79.2      28.1
Copper in Concentrate    '000 t       12.6       0.9
Copper Cathodes          '000 t         --        --
Copper Rod               '000 t         --        --
----------------------------------------------------


Ore extraction at the Karaganda Region in the first quarter of 2007 was 57 per
cent higher than in the first quarter of 2006, as a result of growing production
volumes from the Kosmurun and Nurkazgan mines. Due to a larger contribution from
the high copper grade ores of the Kosmurun and Nurkazgan mines (4.18 per cent
and 1.18 per cent, respectively), the average copper grade for Karaganda region
in the first quarter of 2007 increased from 1.23 to 2.27 per cent compared to
the same period of 2006, which in turn drove the significant increase in copper
in concentrate production.


For further information please contact:

Jinsoo Yang, Head of Investor Relations
Sergei Stephantsov, Deputy Head of Investor Relations
Kazakhmys PLC                                           Tel:+44 20 7901 7800

Robin Walker
Finsbury                                                Tel:+44 20 7251 3801



- ends -



Notes to Editors


The principal business of Kazakhmys plc ("the Group") is the mining, processing,
smelting, refining of copper and copper products, including copper cathode and
copper rod. The Group's operations are vertically integrated. Kazakhmys operates
19 open pit and underground mines and two smelting and refining complexes in the
Republic of Kazakhstan. Kazakhmys also owns significant rail infrastructure in
Kazakhstan and MKM, a copper products fabrication company in Germany.





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