070410 South Africa must improve its energy supply and transport infrastructure, and boost investment in education to ensure the nation fully benefits from global commodities demand, Xstrata Plc Chief Executive Officer Mick Davis said .photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi 53

Newly commissioned expansions and improved productivity for resources group Xstrata helped deliver stronger second-quarter production in coal‚ copper‚ nickel‚ zinc and lead compared with the first quarter‚ the company said on Tuesday.

Releasing its production report for the six months ended June 2012‚ the group reported total mined copper production rose 7% quarter on quarter‚ including volumes from the Antamina expansion‚ which was successfully commissioned in March.

“We continue our transition to new mines and expansions that herald the start of increased copper production from the second half of 2012‚” the company said.

Thermal coal volumes increased across all the group’s regions - Australia‚ SA and Colombia - benefiting from new mines and improved productivity at existing operations compared to the same period in 2011.

Mined nickel and ferronickel production rose by 5% compared with first half of 2011‚ following improved volumes and higher grades at Xstrata’s Canadian operations and a full six-month contribution from the Falcondo ferronickel operation.

A total of 10 major approved growth projects will reach commissioning in 2012 - Antamina (already commissioned)‚ Antapaccay‚ Lomas Bayas‚ Mount Margaret (copper)‚ Ravensworth North and Ulan open cut (coal)‚ Koniambo (nickel)‚ Tswelopele (ferrochrome pelletising plant) and Lady Loretta and George Fisher (zinc).

“The commissioning of tier one growth projects will reduce overall operating costs and improve the quality and robustness of our portfolio throughout the commodity cycle‚” it said. - I-Net Bridge