StockMarketWire.com - Antofagasta's [LON:ANTO] revenues fell by 18.5% to $1,448.0 million in the six months to the end of June, on lower copper prices and sales volumes, and the closure of Michilla at the end of 2015.

But EBITDA increased 2.3% to $571.6 million despite the fall in revenue, reflecting a 24.7% reduction in operating costs and a first time EBITDA contribution from Zald�var and other associates.

EBITDA margin strengthened to 39.5%, up from 31.5% and operating cost reductions of $124 million were achieved, contributing to savings of $0.11/lb in cash costs.

Operating profit and earnings per share fell by 9.2% and 3.3% respectively.

Operating cash flow generation of $774.1 million in the period, 4.2% less than in the first half of 2015.

Capital expenditure of $385.4 million, $276.9 million lower than in the first half of 2015. Full year expenditure expected to be lower than original guidance.

Interim dividend of 3.1 cents per share. Dividend policy to pay a minimum pay-out ratio of 35% of net earnings for the full year remains unchanged.

Group net debt of $1,039.7 million, almost unchanged since the end of 2015.

Chief executive Iv�n Arriagada said: "A 24.7% reduction in operating costs offset the decline in the copper price and lower sales volumes resulting in EBITDA of $571.6 million, 2.3% higher than in the same period last year. "Continued management actions to reduce costs and preserve cash contributed to our EBITDA margin strengthening to 39.5%, from 26.2% in the full year 2015. While reducing costs in absolute terms is important we are focused on achieving improved efficiencies in a sustainable manner to ensure long-term shareholder value.

"Given the current economic uncertainty we are cautious in our outlook and remain conservative in our approach to managing capital. The Board has declared a dividend of 3.1 cents per share equal to 35% of net earnings at the interim, in line with our policy to pay a minimum of 35% of full year net earnings which remains unchanged.

"At Los Pelambres, following the agreement reached with the Caimanes community in April, the two longstanding court cases relating to the Mauro tailings dam have recently been resolved. Although an appeal is possible, it is unlikely to be accepted and Los Pelambres and the Antofagasta group now move into a new era of community engagement." Antofagasta's [LON:ANTO] revenues fell by 18.5% to $1,448.0 million in the six months to the end of June, on lower copper prices and sales volumes, and the closure of Michilla at the end of 2015.

But EBITDA increased 2.3% to $571.6 million despite the fall in revenue, reflecting a 24.7% reduction in operating costs and a first time EBITDA contribution from Zald�var and other associates.

EBITDA margin strengthened to 39.5%, up from 31.5% and operating cost reductions of $124 million were achieved, contributing to savings of $0.11/lb in cash costs.

Operating profit and earnings per share fell by 9.2% and 3.3% respectively.

Operating cash flow generation of $774.1 million in the period, 4.2% less than in the first half of 2015.

Capital expenditure of $385.4 million, $276.9 million lower than in the first half of 2015. Full year expenditure expected to be lower than original guidance.

Interim dividend of 3.1 cents per share. Dividend policy to pay a minimum pay-out ratio of 35% of net earnings for the full year remains unchanged.

Group net debt of $1,039.7 million, almost unchanged since the end of 2015.

Chief executive Iv�n Arriagada said: "A 24.7% reduction in operating costs offset the decline in the copper price and lower sales volumes resulting in EBITDA of $571.6 million, 2.3% higher than in the same period last year. "Continued management actions to reduce costs and preserve cash contributed to our EBITDA margin strengthening to 39.5%, from 26.2% in the full year 2015. While reducing costs in absolute terms is important we are focused on achieving improved efficiencies in a sustainable manner to ensure long-term shareholder value.

"Given the current economic uncertainty we are cautious in our outlook and remain conservative in our approach to managing capital. The Board has declared a dividend of 3.1 cents per share equal to 35% of net earnings at the interim, in line with our policy to pay a minimum of 35% of full year net earnings which remains unchanged.

"At Los Pelambres, following the agreement reached with the Caimanes community in April, the two longstanding court cases relating to the Mauro tailings dam have recently been resolved. Although an appeal is possible, it is unlikely to be accepted and Los Pelambres and the Antofagasta group now move into a new era of community engagement."

* * *

Hochschild Mining [LON:HOC] swung into the black in the six months to the end of June posting pre-tax profits of $60.3 million against a loss of $43.4 million last time.

Revenues rose to $339.3 million (H1 2015: $190.3 million) and adjusted EBITDA increased to $170.3 million (H1 2015: $39.3 million).

Hochschild said its mines delivered a very good first half with both Inmaculada and Arcata performing above expectations.

The company, as a whole, produced 118 thousand ounces of gold and 8.2 million ounces of silver which, when converted to the silver equivalent number of 17 million ounces, confirms that the run rate is ahead of the original full year target of 32 million ounces.

Inmaculada was the key driver with grade and recoveries running ahead of plan and the plant consistently outperforming its design capacity. This led to production of 111 thousand gold equivalent ounces at an all-in sustaining cost of around $600 per ounce which places the mine in the bottom decile of the industry cost curve.

In addition, Arcata enjoyed its finest half for over five years with production improving by 15% versus the same period of 2015. San Jose in Argentina has continued to deliver remarkably consistent output in an improved domestic economic environment.

With the Company's overall cost position substantially lowered, all operations generated strong cashflow and we can look forward to a further boost at Pallancata when the transition to feed from the new Pablo vein is completed.

The Company's production target for the year has increased by over 6% to 34.0 million silver equivalent ounces following the good performances at Inmaculada and Arcata in the first half. All-in sustaining cost expectations for the Company have also been revised following a strong first half and are now expected to be between $11.0 and $11.5 per silver equivalent ounce which compares very favourably to our original guidance of between $12.0 and $12.5.

Chairman Eduardo Hochschild said: "Our long term investment strategy has now started to deliver strong results with an impressive operational performance combined with more positive precious metal prices which has in turn led to our re-entry into the FTSE 250. The Company has returned to profitability, materially reduced its debt position and is investing primarily in brownfield growth. In this constructive environment, the Board has decided to pay a dividend of 1.38 US cents per share, representing approximately 25% of net earnings, which we believe is an appropriate payout at this early stage of the cycle."

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BHP Billiton [LON:BLT] posts losses from operations of $6.2bn for the year to the end of June compared with a profit of $8.7bn in 2015. The company said it had been a challenging 12 months for the company and the industry.

It said response efforts at Samarco continue with good progress being made on community resettlement, community health and environment restoration.

The company said there were no fatalities at its operated sites in the 2016 financial year.

It reports underlying EBITDA of US$12.3 billion (down from $11.9bn) and an underlying EBITDA margin of 41%, despite weaker commodity prices which had a negative impact of US$10.7 billion.

Productivity gains of US$437 million were achieved for the period and the company says it remains on track for US$2.2 billion of gains over the two years to the end of the 2017 financial year.

Conventional petroleum, grade-adjusted Escondida, Western Australia Iron Ore and Queensland Coal unit cash costs(4) declined by 30%, 22%, 19% and 15% respectively.

Other highlights:

- Capital and exploration expenditure declined by 42% to US$6.4 billion and is expected to decrease further to US$5.0 billion in the 2017 financial year (BHP Billiton share). On a cash basis, capital and exploration expenditure was US$7.7 billion and is forecast to decline to US$5.4 billion in the 2017 financial year.

- Reduction in operating costs, it says the "flexibility in our investment programme and a targeted reduction of working capital supported free cash flow of US$3.4 billion".

- Balance sheet remains strong, with net debt of US$26.1 billion broadly unchanged from December 2015.

- The Board has determined to pay a final dividend of 14 US cents per share, which is covered by free cash flow generated in the current period. In accordance with the Group's dividend policy, this comprises the minimum payout of 8 US cents per share and an additional amount of 6 US cents per share, reflecting continued balance sheet strength and strong free cash flow during the period.

Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Mackenzie, said: "The last 12 months have been challenging for both BHP Billiton and the resources industry. Nevertheless, our results demonstrate the resilience of our portfolio and the diverse ways in which we can create value for shareholders despite low commodity prices. Unit cash costs across the Group declined 16 per cent and with increased capital efficiency, supported free cash flow generation of US$3.4 billion despite weaker commodity prices.

"Next year, we expect another US$1.8 billion of productivity gains as our new Operating Model helps sustain momentum, delivering more than US$7 billion of free cash flow based on current spot prices and a forecast reduction in net debt.

"The strength of our cash flow generation and balance sheet is reflected in the final dividend of 14 US cents per share, which comprises the minimum implied by our payout ratio and a top up from excess cash in line with the capital allocation framework. We continue to pursue capital-efficient latent capacity opportunities which will support volume growth of up to four per cent next year, excluding our Onshore US assets where we continue to defer activity to maximise value. In addition, we have progressed high-return growth projects, with investment decisions on the Mad Dog 2 and Spence Growth Option projects expected by the end of next calendar year.

"Over the past five years we have actively reshaped our portfolio, and we are confident we have the right mix of commodities, assets and opportunities to create substantial value over time. While commodity prices are expected to remain low and volatile in the short to medium term, we are confident in the long-term outlook for our commodities, particularly oil and copper."

In relation to Samarco, he added: "All of us at BHP Billiton remain deeply saddened by the Samarco tragedy. The Company is fully committed to the Framework Agreement and its programs to remediate and compensate for the impacts of the Samarco dam failure. Good progress is being made on community resettlement, community health and environment restoration."

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Fresnillo [LON:FRES] has announced that the exchange rate for the interim dividend for the six months to the end of June is $1.2875 to the pound. The sterling equivalent of the interim dividend of 8.60 US cents per share announced on 2 August will be 6.6796 pence per share. The interim dividend will be paid on 9 September to shareholders on the register on 12 August.

* * *

Sirius Minerals [LON:SXX] has narrowed its H1 pretax loss to £4.5m, from a loss of £7.5m. Revenue was nil.

HIGHLIGHTS:

- Completion of definitive feasibility study for the Company's North Yorkshire Polyhalite Project (the "Project").

- Selection of preferred construction contractors for the Project - Associated Mining Construction (UK) and Hochtief Murphy joint ventures.

- The announcement of a Project capital funding requirement of US$2.91 billion and a Stage 1 capital funding requirement of US$1.09 billion.

- Take-or-pay offtake agreement with Yunnan Dian Huang Peony Industrial Group Co. Ltd (Dian Huang).

- Appointment of Louise Hardy as a Non-executive director to the Board.

- Increase of the Company's polyhalite probable reserve.

- Announcement of the details of a potential de-icing salt opportunity as part of an opportunistic strategy to generate additional revenues.

* * *

Orosur [LON:OMI] has narrowed its FY pre-tax loss to $3.2m, from a loss of $49.4m. Sales came in at $42.9m, from $65.9m.

The period was hurt by impairments of $4.2m, from $14.7m, and exploration expenses and exploration written off of $351,000, from $27.9m.

Gold production totalled 35,773 oz, which was ahead of guidance for 30,000-35,000 oz. FY 2015 production was 53,485 oz.

Cash operating costs totalled $877/oz, from $912/oz. The company's forecast production guidance for FY 2017 is increased to between 35,000 to 40,000 ounces of gold at operating cash costs of between US$800 to US$900 per ounce.

This represents an improvement compared to last year's delivered results and guidance (30-35 koz at US$850-950/oz operating cash costs).

Orosur expected to benefit from the savings generated by the ongoing optimisation of operations as well as higher grades from the San Gregorio West Underground project.

* * *

Red Rock Resources [LON:RRR] has issued an update in relation to payments from its Shoats Creek Field in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana and in relation to the sale of the Company's interest in the El Limon gold mine, Colombia.

Highlights: - $ 8,911.94 net paid to Red Rock from first revenue distribution from Shoats Creek

- Payment of US$225,000 from Colombia Milling Ltd ("CML") expected later in month

- First royalty payment from CML expected in September in respect of period 1 May to 31 July 2016

- In relation to the US$1,000,000 Promissory Note from CML held by Red Rock, where Red Rock has served notice of its intention to convert but it had appeared CML might not accept this, the parties are in discussion on a resolution.






At 4:27pm:

[LON:ANTO] Antofagasta PLC share price was +45.75p at 559.75p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was +0.06p at 4.13p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Energia Ltd share price was +4.25p at 49.25p

[LON:BLT] BHP Billiton PLC share price was +8.25p at 1050.75p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +0.05p at 177.35p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 25.38p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was +0.01p at 3.57p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was -0.25p at 40.75p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was +3.5p at 1986.5p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was +0.5p at 125.75p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was +20.2p at 314.3p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +20.38p at 282.38p

[LON:SXX] Sirius Minerals PLC share price was -0.62p at 35.88p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was +16.75p at 547.75p



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