Miner Anglo keeps most production targets after third-quarter dip

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Anglo American Plc AAL.L on Thursday kept most of its production targets, saying it was operating at about 95% of normal capacity as it posted a year-on-year fall in third-quarter output reflecting temporary shutdowns.

FILE PHOTO: The Anglo American logo is seen in Rusternburg October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

In the three months to September, overall production fell 3% with diamonds, platinum, iron ore and coal down, amid maintenance at its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil and the suspension of its Grosvenor metallurgical coal operations in Australia.

Copper and manganese production rose, it said.

Overall output increased 24% compared to the previous quarter, it said, as it recovers from a coronavirus-induced output slump.

Anglo, which cut capital expenditure and trimmed many of its full year output targets in April, maintained its full year guidance for all products apart from copper, platinum group metals (PGM) and thermal coal.

“Continued strong performance at the Collahuasi copper operation in Chile helped mitigate our overall year-on-year production decrease to 3%,” said Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani.

Copper production rose 4% year on year to 165,700 tonnes, driven by a 17% increase in output at Collahuasi.

The suspension of operations at Grosvenor following a gas explosion continued to hit output, with group export metallurgical coal down 26% year on year to 4.8 million tonnes.

Anglo cut guidance for export thermal coal to 19 million tonnes from 21 million due to ongoing strike disruption at Cerrejón in Colombia.

Rough diamond production fell 4% during the quarter to 7.2 million carats as COVID-19 dented demand.

However, Anglo said sales of rough diamonds showed signs of improvement as pandemic restrictions eased in cutting and polishing centres ahead of the holiday season.

Iron ore production fell 18% to 5.0 million tonnes at Minas-Rio in Brazil after a month-long maintenance stoppage.

PGM output dipped with platinum production down 2% year on year and palladium production flat, driven by lower production at its South African Amandelbult mine.

Anglo American Platinum AMSJ.J lost 119,000 ounces during the quarter due to the impact of the pandemic.

Shares in Anglo ticked up 0.8% by 0838 GMT, compared to a 0.13% fall in an index of its mining peers .FTNMX1770

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; editing by Carmel Crimmins and John Stonestreet