Xstrata First-Half Copper, Nickel Output Falls

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Mining group Xstrata posted a 1.1 percent fall in first-half mined copper output and a 6.1 percent fall in mined nickel production on Wednesday.

However, the Anglo-Swiss group said it had record output for the first six months of the year in ferrochrome, platinum, semi-soft and coking coal and refined nickel. The firm said in a statement it expected a "significantly" stronger second-half performance across its portfolio.

This would result from higher grades at several copper and nickel mines, the resolution of one-off operational issues and new production from recently acquired and newly launched mines. Copper and nickel were responsible for the bulk of Xstrata's operating profit last year, with copper accounting for 46 percent and nickel for 24 percent.

The fifth-largest mining company by market value said total mined copper production for the three months to end June fell to 444,269 tonnes from 449,136 tonnes in the same period last year and mined nickel output fell to 26,610 tonnes from 28,349 tonnes.

Production of zinc in concentrate rose 1 percent to 380,778 tonnes while consolidated coal output increased 3.9 percent to 39.6 million tonnes. Attributable chrome production rose 2.8 percent to 615,000 tonnes.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; editing by Sue Thomas) Keywords: XSTRATA/ tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomson.com vlb COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2008. All rights reserved.

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