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19-04-2012 15:41:00

CESCO: Chile Antofagasta's Luksic Hopes To Name New CEO In 1st Half

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SANTIAGO -(Dow Jones)- London-listed Chilean copper mining company Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) hopes to name its new chief executive during the first half of this year, company president Jean-Paul Luksic said late Wednesday.

Several top Antofagasta executives, including CEO Marcelo Awad, recently resigned as the company seeks to restructure its management.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual industry dinner that crowns the CESCO week in Santiago, Luksic, whose family controls Antofagasta, said he already had a short list of candidates.

He jokingly said the candidate was probably attending the dinner of more than 2,000 guests.

"I hope to have the executive before the end of the first semester," Luksic said.

Luksic, in one of the few interviews he has given to local newspapers, recently told La Segunda the management shakeup had been fueled by the company not meeting its production targets.

For 2012, he said at the CESCO dinner, he is confident the company will produce 700,000 metric tons of copper.

Harder-than-expected rock, which had forced the company to modify crushers and mills, at its Esperanza mine contributed to Antofagasta not meeting its production target.

Luksic told reporters Esperanza would likely be operating at its design capacity next year once it resolves the glitches related to the harder rock.

In Chile, Antofagasta controls and operates the Esperanza, Los Pelambres, Michilla and El Tesoro mines. It also has several deposits it seeks to develop in the future.

--By Carolina Pica, Dow Jones Newswires; 56-2-715-8919; carolina.pica@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 19, 2012 09:41 ET (13:41 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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