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April 25 (Reuters) - Anglo American Plc said on Thursday copper production rose in the first quarter, while output from Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil soared as it ramped it up after resuming operations late last year.
Copper output climbed 4 percent to 161,100 tonnes for the three months ended March 31, the diversified miner with an over century-old history said. Minas-Rio iron ore production jumped 61 percent.
A renewed demand for copper, a metal that has a major role to play in automobiles and related industries, partly aided Anglo American in outperforming its major peers last year.
But the blue-chip miner said total output slipped by 6 percent during the quarter, partly hurt by production issues at Venetia diamond mine, Kumba Iron Ore and platinum group metals business unit.
The fall in total output was cushioned by stronger operational performance from copper, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani.
He added that the ramp-up at Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil was ahead of plan following its resumption in December after months of closure.
Anglo American said in December it had received regulatory approval to step up production and cut costs at the mine. It then also hiked production target for 2019.
On Thursday, the company stood by that guidance.
“By the end of the quarter we had increased our production run-rate, are on track to deliver this year’s production targets and our guidance is unchanged,” Cutifani said in a statement.
Its smaller peer Antofagasta posted a 22.6 percent jump in first-quarter copper production this week, bolstered by better quality ore.
Shares of the FTSE 100 constituent, which have jumped nearly 20 percent this year, were expected to open 1 percent higher. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru and Barbara Lewis in London; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)