April 25, 2011 / 12:29 PM / 6 years ago

RPT-UPDATE 1-Equinox Minerals Q1 ore mined up 39 pct

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April 25, (Reuters) - Australian copper producer Equinox Minerals , which agreed to a C$7.3 billion takeover offer made by Canada's Barrick Gold earlier on Monday, posted a 39 percent rise in ore mined in the first quarter, at its Lumwana mine in Zambia.

Ore mined during the quarter rose to 4.29 million tonnes, up from 3.09 million tonnes a year ago.

Equinox said it expects to produce 145,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate at its Lumwana mine this year, for $1.45 per pound.

Copper in concentrate produced during the quarter fell about 7 percent to 28,621 tonnes, as a result of lower head grades.

First-quarter operating costs also rose about 21 percent due to higher mining costs and low production during wet weather, the company said in a statement.

The copper miner noted that rising prices of diesel, consumables and expatriate labour could affect its cost outlook for the year.

Equinox, which operates its wholly-owned Lumwana mine, and is currently developing the Jabal Sayid Copper-Gold project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, agreed to be bought by Barrick at a price of C$8.15 a share. [ID:nN25282882]

Shares of the company closed at C$7.50 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)

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