Copper and gold miner, Oxiana (OXR) announced record copper production in its quarter 1 results released today, propelling its share price 5% to $3.33.

Its Sepon mine in Laos produced a record 17,132 tonnes due to higher volumes mined and milled and improvements in the processing circuit.

It reaffirmed copper production from the mine for the year is in line with previous guidance of 60,000 tonnes to 65,000 tonnes.

Gold production from the same mine was 24,235 ounces in the quarter, although Oxiana has forecast a lower gold production in the second quarter of 2008.

Oxiana said this is “due to decline in mill feed grade, but higher production in the second half”.

“With the addition of mining from two more deposits, we expect to see annual production achieve forecasts of 90,000 ounces to 100,000 ounces”, the company said.

Its Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia is progressing well – mining is on schedule and infrastructure is 58% complete.

In addition, the Golden Grove zinc-copper-gold mine in Western Australia experienced record copper production for the quarter, with expansion studies on schedule for open-pit mining of surface gold and copper ore bodies in 2009 and expanded underground mining in 2012.

Oxiana is the midst of a friendly merger with miner Zinifex, a move which will create Australia’s third biggest diversified miner behind the big two, BHP and Rio.

Announced in early March 2008, the merger is expected to be implemented June/July 2008.

Zinifex is a major world scale miner of zinc, with silver and lead and some heavy metals. It has interests in Canada, a new mine emerging in Queensland near its Century mine, and recently has acquired Allegiance Mining. .

The combined entity, yet to be named, would be the world’s second largest zinc producer and have a significant position in copper, lead, gold and silver.

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