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Anglo American reports strong third quarter production

By Josh White

Date: Thursday 22 Oct 2020

Anglo American reports strong third quarter production

(Sharecast News) - Anglo American said on Thursday that copper production increased by 4% to 165,700 tonnes in the third quarter, as Collahuasi in Chile increased production by 17% due to ongoing strong performance.
The FTSE 100 company said full-year copper production guidance had been tightened to between 630,000 and 660,000 tonnes, from 620,000 to 670,000 tonnes, subject to the extent of further Covid-19 related disruption.

Platinum group metals production was "broadly flat", decreasing 2% to 516,500 tonnes, as a strong performance from the open pit Mogalakwena mine, with 12% higher palladium production, largely mitigated by lower production from the underground Amandelbult.

Metal in concentrate production guidance was is revised to between 1.7 million and 1.8 million ounces of platinum, up from 1.5 million to 1.7 million ounces, and between 1.1 million and 1.2 million ounces of palladium, from 1.0 million to 1.2 million ounces, also subject to the extent of any further Covid-19 related disruptions.

In Iron ore, the pipeline inspection and maintenance at Minas-Rio in Brazil was completed successfully and on schedule, with operations restarted in early October.

For the full-year, Kumba production guidance was unchanged at 37 million to 39 million tonnes, and Minas-Rio was also unchanged at 22 million to 24 million tonnes.

Rough diamond sales improved ahead of the key fourth quarter holiday selling season for diamond jewellery, while rough diamond production decreased by 4% to 7.2 million carats, driven by planned reductions in production to reflect the lower demand for rough diamonds due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Production guidance for diamonds was unchanged at 25 million to 27 million carats, subject to continuous review based on the disruptions related to Covid-19, as well as the timing and scale of the recovery in demand.

Export metallurgical coal production decreased by 26% to 4.8 million tonnes, primarily due to the suspension of operations at Grosvenor following the underground gas ignition incident in May 2020.

Open cut operations were scaled back at Dawson and Capcoal, in response to Covid-19 reduced demand for lower quality metallurgical coal.

Attributable export thermal coal production decreased by 50% to 1.0 million tonnes, as a result of an ongoing strike at Cerrejón, which started in September.

That, Anglo American said, more than offset the ramp up in production earlier in the third quarter, following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Production guidance for metallurgical coal was maintained at 16 million to 18 million tonnes, while production guidance for export thermal coal was revised to around 19 million tonnes from 21 million tonnes, owing to the ongoing strike disruption in Colombia.

Nickel production decreased by 10% due to planned annual maintenance that took place in the third quarter, whereas the maintenance took place in the second quarter in 2019, with production guidance unchanged at between 42,000 and 44,000 tonnes.

Manganese ore production increased by 3% to 938,700 tonnes, as the impact from the Covid-19 restrictions in South Africa were offset by improved Australian production from stronger mining performance and higher concentrator yield.

Production of manganese alloy decreased by 37% to 18,300 tonnes, with one plant in South Africa on care and maintenance since the Covid-19 lockdown.

In addition, a binding agreement was reached for the sale of the Temco alloy smelter in Australia.

"Anglo American has continued its strong operational recovery, with a 24% increase in production compared to the second quarter," said chief executive officer Mark Cutifani.

"We are currently operating at about 95% of our normal capacity - testament to our efforts to protect operational continuity across our business, whilst maintaining comprehensive measures across our operations to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of our workforce and host communities, as part of our holistic response to Covid-19."

Cutifani said continued strong performance at the Collahuasi copper operation in Chile helped mitigate the company's overall year-on-year production decrease to 3% compared to the third quarter of 2019, despite planned maintenance at Minas-Rio iron ore in Brazil and excluding the effect of the suspended Grosvenor metallurgical coal operation in Australia.

"We have also seen encouraging improvement in demand for rough diamonds as we approach the holiday selling season, although there is still some uncertainty in terms of the timing of a sustained recovery."

At 0957 BST, shares in Anglo American were up 1.28% at 1,975.6p.

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