January 21, 2010 / 6:01 PM / 8 years ago

Inmet Mining shares fall on Spanish mine problems

Jan 21 (Reuters) - Shares of Inmet Mining Corp IMN.TO fell as much as 13 percent on Thursday, a day after the Canadian miner said it missed its copper production target for 2009 as it continued to face start-up problems at its Las Cruces mine in Spain.

Inmet Mining shares were trading C$9.06 lower at C$59.56 in early afternoon trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

On Wednesday, Inmet said it produced 83,600 tonnes of copper during 2009, as it failed to achieve commercial production at Las Cruces during the fourth quarter. The company said its zinc and gold production were slightly above its estimates.

RBC Capital Markets downgraded Inmet to "sector perform" from "outperform" and said the problems at Las Cruces would be a drag on share price performance in the near term.

Inmet said it produced 3,300 tonnes of copper cathode at Las Cruces in the fourth quarter, compared with its estimate of 8,700 tonnes, as a number of equipment failures and operational issues delayed the ramp-up of the plant.

The company said it now expects to reach commercial production in May and design capacity of 72,000 tonnes of copper cathode a year by August. (Reporting by Ashutosh Joshi in Bangalore; Editing by Mike Miller)

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