Xstrata has reported a strong operating and financial performance in the third quarter of 2009.

The company reported a rise in volumes of refined nickel, lead metal, zinc in concentrate, PGMs and thermal and semi-soft coal compared to Q3 2008.

Xstrata Alloys ferrochrome production was 20% less in Q3 2009 compared to Q3 2008. Ferrochrome capacity utilisation was increased from 60% in July to nearly 85% by the end of Q3, following improvement in demand in the second half of the year.

PGM volumes were 5% more compared to Q3 2008, with the Mototolo joint venture generating at a stable rate of 209,500oz a year.

Xstrata Coal’s total consolidated output for Q3 3009 was 25.6 million tonnes, an increase of 2.1 million tonnes or 9% compared to Q3 2008.

Overall thermal coal volumes for Q3 2009 increased by 8% compared to Q3 2008 due to the integration of the recently purchased Prodeco operation.

Xstrata Copper’s total mined copper output, however, decreased by 10% in the third quarter compared to Q3 2008 due to lower grades which adversely affected volumes at Alumbrera, Antamina and Ernest Henry.

Xstrata Nickel’s overall mined nickel output in Q3 2009 remained at the same level for the quarter and its mined copper output was 52% less due to the shut down of high copper-containing nickel mines in Timmins and Sudbury, although this was partly counteracted by increased volumes from XNA.

Xstrata Zinc’s zinc in concentrate production rose by 10% due to increased productivity at the new Canada-based Perseverance mine and at the Australian operations following expansions and restructuring in the first half of the year.

Overall zinc metal output remained similar to that of Q3 2008.

Xstrata’s preliminary results for the year ending 31 December 2009 will be disclosed on 8 February 2010.