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Copper production rises but diamond output falls at Anglo American

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 23 Apr 2024

Copper production rises but diamond output falls at Anglo American

(Sharecast News) - Anglo American reported relatively flat group production in the first quarter on Tuesday as rising copper production was offset by sliding diamond output.
The FTSE 100 mining giant said copper production was ahead 11% year-on-year, which it attributed to higher throughput at Quellaveco.

Despite planned lower grades, that growth was further bolstered by improved grades and throughput at Collahuasi and El Soldado.

Steelmaking coal production meanwhile rose 7%, driven primarily by operations at Aquila and Capcoal.

However, the increase was partly offset by challenges faced at the Dawson open cut operation and ongoing issues with strata conditions at Moranbah.

Iron ore production remained stable overall, with a commendable performance reported from Minas-Rio, marking a 4% increase.

However, Anglo American said that growth was counterbalanced by a planned decrease at Kumba, aligning with third-party logistics constraints.

In contrast, rough diamond production saw a notable decrease of 23%.

The board put the decline down to strategic adjustments made in response to market inventory levels.

As a result, full-year 2024 production guidance was revised downwards to between 26 million and 29 million carats, with unit costs adjusted to approximately $90 per carat.

Production from platinum group metals (PGMs) operations experienced a 7% decline, largely due to expected lower volumes from Kroondal, reported as third-party purchase of concentrate since November, and reduced production at Amandelbult.

Nickel production, however, remained relatively stable with no significant change reported.

"We were pleased with the performance in the first quarter, with copper production increasing by 11% as Quellaveco achieved its highest plant throughput rate, while Collahuasi and El Soldado in Chile benefited from higher grades," said chief executive officer Duncan Wanblad.

"Steelmaking coal production also increased by 7%, due to the performance at the Aquila longwall and Capcoal open cut operations.

"De Beers implemented changes to lower its diamond production for the year by around three million carats which, combined with lower production from our PGMs operations, resulted in flat production overall for the group compared to the same period of last year."

Wanblad said the company was "driving operational excellence" across its assets, focusing on stability and effective cost management as levers to deliver value through the cycle.

"We are progressing through our asset review to optimise value by simplifying and improving the overall quality of the portfolio.

"With copper now representing 30% of our total production, and having the benefit of several well-sequenced and value-accretive copper growth options within our portfolio over the medium-term, we are also setting up the business to deliver and grow into the major demand themes."

At 0815 BST, Anglo American shares were down 0.86% at 2,141.5p.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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