Miner Xstrata reported a dip in third-quarter copper volumes, dented by its shift to new operations but also by ongoing trouble at the giant Collahuasi mine, where production fell 44 percent.

Xstrata, the world's fourth-largest copper miner, said its total production of the red metal dropped to 187,800 tonnes in the quarter, above the preceding three months but 16 percent below the same period a year earlier.

The miner, in the throes of a $32 billion takeover by trader Glencore, said it expects the impact of a turnaround plan at Chile's Collahuasi mine - which it controls with peer Anglo American - and improved grades to improve throughput there in the fourth quarter.

Mined coal, a key earner for Xstrata along with copper, saw consolidated production rise marginally to 24 million tonnes from 23.6 million a year ago, led by thermal coal.

Xstrata, confirming it had slashed around 600 jobs in Australia in the face of falling coal prices and high Australian costs, said it had settled annual thermal coal contracts from October with Japanese customers at around $97 per tonne.

Nickel was flat on the same period a year ago. For zinc - in which the miner will become the world's top player after a tie-up with Glencore - metal production edged lower to 181,992 tonnes against 184,220 tonnes year ago. Zinc in concentrate production was 4 percent higher on the year-ago. - Reuters