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OZ Minerals production drops

OZ Minerals predicts copper production will fall in 2013 and gold may follow, as the company posts a drop in production in the final three months of 2012.

OZ Minerals produced 23,296 tonnes of copper from its Prominent Hill mine in South Australia in the three months to December 31, down from 25,738 tonnes in the three months to September 30.

Gold production was 32,273 ounces in the December quarter, down from 35,111 ounces in the September quarter.

That took OZ Minerals' production for calendar 2012 to 101,737 tonnes of copper and 140,746 ounces of gold, within its previously issued guidance range.

The company has forecast a fall in copper production in 2013, to between 90,000 tonnes and 95,000 tonnes.

Gold production is again expected to be between 130,000 ounces and 150,000 ounces of gold.

The forecast is consistent with the long-term plan for the Prominent Hill mine, where activity will peak in 2013 and begin to reduce, OZ Minerals says.

Costs are also forecast to be higher in 2013, as more waste will need to be removed from deeper in the open pit, and as a result of lower copper production.