Widespread production hikes for Anglo

ANGLO American has reported substantial increases in production across several commodities during the December quarter.

Justin Niessner

Export metallurgical coal production was up 3% year-on-year to 4.7 million tonnes while export thermal coal output increased 8% to 7.9Mt.

The robust report follows comments by Anglo chief executive Mark Cutifani last month outlining a revival plan for the mining giant which included some unspecified asset sales and increased earnings on investment.

The plan focused on a target of attributable return on capital employed (ROCE) of more than 15% by 2016.

It would compare to a 9% ROCE the group generated last year.

The company expects capital employed in Australia to increase to 14% of the group total by 2016 from 11% in 2012.

Iron ore production for the quarter was up 25% year on year at 11.23 million tonnes, owing to strike action disrupting operations at the same time last year.

The Sishen iron ore mine in South Africa increased production by 39%, to 8.4Mt, following the impact of an unprotected strike in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Export sales from the company’s Kumba iron ore division increased by 6% to 9.5Mt, due to the 2012 strikes impacting prior year volumes.

Copper production for the quarter increased by 24% year-on-year to a record 214,400 tonnes, driven by continued strong performance the company’s Chilean mines.

Production at the Los Bronces mine increased by 16% to 110,000t, with improved throughput thanks to congestion reduction and debottlenecking efforts.

Anglo’s attributable share of production at the Collahuasi mine doubled to 64,8000t, reflecting higher grades and a performance rebound after a mill breakdown in 2012.

Nickel production for the quarter was up 38% year-on-year to 10,200t, with the Barro Alto mine in Brazil improving operational stability despite a need for furnace rebuilds.

Platinum equivalent refined production increased by 25% year-on-year to 520,300 ounces as a result of ramp-ups and post-strike normalisation of operations at the company’s South African mines.

Niobium and diamond production for the quarter, meanwhile, were up 20% to 1200t and 13% to 9.1 million carats versus the same time last year.