BRISBANE-BASED mining company PanAust has announced record copper production from its Phu Kham copper-gold operation in Laos.
The production of 21,100 tonnes during the March quarter compares favourably with the full-year guidance for between 73,000 and 76,000 tonnes.
In 2014, the company produced 71,200 tonnes, outperforming its original guidance of 65,000 to 70,000.
However, any increase in production could be offset by weak prices, with the value of copper falling from about 3.4 US dollars per pound in January 2014 to under three US dollars in December 2014, according to NASDAQ.
After falling below 2.5 US dollars early this year, the price of copper has returned to about 2.7 US dollars.
PanAust plans for its copper production to peak at about 90,000 tonnes between 2018 and 2019.
It expects annual copper production to increase nearly 25 per cent from 2014, without any extra capital expenditure.
Managing director Fred Hess says the operation performed strongly thanks to a recent business efficiency review.
The company initially identified $65 million in savings but believes it will experience further benefits in mining, shared services, and sustaining capital.
The strong US dollar also contributed to the record production levels, driving down the price of key consumables such as fuel.
In other quarterly results, the Ban Houayxai operation in Laos poured 24,500 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver.
PanAust recorded a loss of $279 million in the full year to December 2014. It is currently considering a takeover offer from Chinese mining company Guangdong Rising Assets Management.
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