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Antofagasta has posted a 77% year-on-year jump in 2021 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), prompting a record dividend of $1.4bn for the year.

The Chilean miner’s EBITDA for the full year ended 31 December 2021 stood at $4.8bn, versus $2.7bn in 2020. EBITDA margin rose to 64.7% in 2021 from 53.4% in the prior year.

Revenue soared 46% to $7.5bn from $5.1bn over the period, amid rising copper and molybdenum prices.

Pre-tax profit, including exceptional items, increased by 146% to $3.5bn while cash flow from operations grew by 85% to $4.51bn.

Also, on the bright side, net cash totalled $540.5m last year, as against a debt of $82m in 2020. 

Capital expenditure increased by $470m to $1.8bn, driven by expansion at Los Pelambres and Centinela mines.

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By GlobalData

In 2022, the firm projects this expenditure to increase by $1.7bn-$1.9bn due to expansion and water shortages resulting from a drought.

The firm produced 721,500t of copper last year, down 1.7% from 2020 while molybdenum production dropped 16.7% to 10,500t.

Production levels in 2022 are said to be lower than those in 2021. This year, it projects copper production of 660,000t-690,000t, molybdenum production of 8,500t-10,000t, and 170,000oz-190,000oz of gold.

The firm announced a final dividend of 118.9¢ per share, taking the 2021 total to 142.5¢, compared with 54.7¢ in 2020.

Antofagasta CEO Iván Arriagada said: “We have made excellent progress on unlocking the embedded growth options in our portfolio with identified key brownfield developments and incremental growth within our asset portfolio. The expansion of Los Pelambres is now 68% complete and the desalination plant remains on track for completion in H2 2022. The Chloride Leach project at Zaldívar was completed in January 2022 and at Centinela, pre-stripping advanced over the year at the Esperanza Sur pit ready for mining ore for processing in the first half of 2022.

“Climate change remains a key focus for Antofagasta, and we have expanded our capital allocation framework to include climate risk factors and have set environmental commitments to significantly reduce our continental water consumption and emissions by 2025. By then, around 90% of our water use will be sea or recirculated water and our GHG emissions will have reduced by our target of 30%.”