Xstrata delivers strong quarterly growth

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Xstrata was yesterday the latest miner to deliver strong results for the September quarter, with high commodity prices driving growth.

The company recorded record thermal coal production for the quarter, as well as increased volumes of nickel, zinc, and lead.

Stronger output at its Australian mines underpinned the results, along with the start-up of operations at the Mangoola mine in the Hunter Valley.

The opening of Mangoola helped drive Australian thermal coal production up 13 per cent.

These gains helped offset losses at the Blakefield South mine, which suffered an underground fire.

Copper output also fell 10,041 tonnes for the quarter, in part due to lower grades at Mount Isa, but Xstrata said higher production from the Alumbrera mine in South America had helped offset the loss.

Nickel production at Mount Isa also slowed, but zinc output was higher. 

Growth in coal operations in Colombia, as well as nickel and copper expansions in Canada were also approved during the period.

The company said thermal coal prices remained strong, with contract settlements with major Japanese buyers agreed at $US126 a tonne, little changed from the April 1 price of $US129.85.

Xstrata’s report ultimately marked good news for the resource sector, which had its foundations unsettled this week with disappointing Chinese gross domestic product data.

While China’s GDP rose 9.1 per cent it was the slowest gain in more than two years for the quarter.

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