* Q2 Copper output climbs 14 percent
* Iron ore dips 1 percent, still suffering 2012 strike
* First-half earnings due July 26
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON, July 18 Anglo American posted an
unexpected rise in copper production in the second quarter, a
bright spot in an otherwise tough three months for the miner,
which is set to unveil a major strategy review next week.
When he took the reins in April, Anglo's chief executive -
former AngloGold boss Mark Cutifani - began a sweeping overview
of the group's underperforming businesses, down to individual
mines, considering cost cuts and potential sales and partners.
Cutifani - the first executive with experience as a miner to
lead the traditionally patrician Anglo American group - is
expected to outline his findings when Anglo reports first-half
earnings on July 26.
Though few anticipate a structural shift for the group,
analysts hope Cutifani will give details of some savings and
even asset sales - potentially boosting shares that have
otherwise underperformed both diversified peers and the broader
index so far this year. Anglo shares are trading close to their
lowest point since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
"While we caution against getting carried away - it is
seldom that new management can find a magic bullet that eluded
the previous leadership - Mr. Cutifani has the right kind of
skillset to address the operational problems that have plagued
Anglo," analyst Paul Gait at Sanford Bernstein said on Thursday.
Anglo's quarterly production results showed just how tough
the task ahead is for Cutifani and his team.
Anglo's copper division, the biggest earner last year after
iron ore, saw production rise 14 percent to 182,900 tonnes, due
to a 25 percent improvement at the troubled Collahuasi mine -
owned jointly with Glencore Xstrata and a group of
Japanese companies - and the ramp-up of its Los Bronces mine.
Some analysts had forecast a dip against copper production
in the same quarter a year ago.
Yet Anglo said it would keep its 2013 copper target at
680,000 tonnes - remaining cautious around the recovery of
Collahuasi, the world's third-largest mine, which has suffered a
combination of work stoppages, heavy rains and fatal accidents.
The output of key earner iron ore, which made up almost half
of 2012 profit, dipped, with unit Kumba Iron Ore
recording a 1 percent fall to 11.3 million tonnes - against
expectations of a small increase - as its Sishen mine battles to
recover from a strike at the end of last year.
That proved a disappointment to some investors, after iron
ore increases seen at producers such as BHP Billiton
, which posted record production in the 12 months to
June and said expansion of the division was running ahead of
schedule despite weaker prices.
Platinum, a unit whose troubles have been a focus for Anglo
and its investors, saw a 2 percent rise in production to 594,000
ounces - less than forecast due to strikes and what Anglo said
was a lack of flexibility to move employees to operations where
there is a skills shortage.
Platinum has been a major headache for Anglo, which is
struggling to return the division to profit in the face of
lacklustre demand, high costs, restive unions and political
pressure to avoid job cuts. Anglo has had to temper its plans
and now aims to cut 6,000 jobs and reduce platinum production by
10 percent, or 250,000 ounces, this year.
Steel-making coal for export fell 9 percent in the quarter,
after production cuts in anticipation of poor market conditions.
Diamonds, though, met forecasts with a 10 percent rise.