September 3, 2012 / 11:13 PM / in 5 years

Exclusive: South Copper halts Ilo plant for maintenance

LIMA (Reuters) - Southern Copper (SCCO.N) was shutting its Peruvian smelter Ilo for maintenance work on Monday that will last a month, Chief Executive Oscar Gonzales said.

The company, one of the world's largest copper producers and a unit of Grupo Mexico (GMEXICOB.MX), will sell copper concentrates to avoid excess inventory while Ilo's output of anodes and cathodes is halted.

"We'll be selling concentrates, which isn't our strength and, moreover, prices aren't very good. But there's no other medicine because otherwise we wouldn't have those revenues and we'd have too much inventory," Gonzalez told Reuters.

Southern Copper has mines and plants in Mexico and Peru. The Ilo refinery had output of 223,113 metric tons (245,940 tons) in 2011, according to Peru's mining ministry.

Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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