Two planned longwall moves at Anglo American’s metallurgical coal operations made the biggest contribution to the company’s 6% decrease in overall production for the quarter ended March 31.
CE Mark Cutifani said in a statement on Thursday that isolated production issues at the Venetia diamond mine, as well as at the operations of its Kumba Iron Ore and Anglo American Platinum subsidiaries accounted for the balance decrease.
However, these issues were offset by a stronger operational performance from its copper operations, with a 4% production increase, as well as the ramp-up at the Minas-Rio mine, in Brazil, progressing ahead of plan.
“By the end of the quarter, we had increased our production run-rate and are on track to deliver the year’s production targets.”
Copper production increased to 161 000 t, owing to strong plant performance and planned higher grades.
The copper production guidance for the full-year remains at between 630 000 t and 660 000 t.
Diamond production from subsidiary De Beers, however, decreased by 8% to 7.9-million carats, as a result of lower production at Venetia as it transitions from openpit to underground mining. The diamond production guidance remains unchanged at between 31-million and 33-million carats for the full-year.
Platinum and palladium production decreased by 5% to 471 900 oz and by 6% to 326 600 oz, respectively, owing to operational challenges.
Full-year production guidance remains unchanged at between 2-million and 2.1-million ounces of platinum and 1.3-million to 1.4-million ounces of palladium.
Meanwhile, Kumba’s iron-ore production decreased by 12% to 9.5-million tonnes owing to plant maintenance. The full-year production guidance for Kumba remains at between 43-million and 44-million tonnes.
Minas-Rio’s iron-ore production, however, increased by 61% as its ramp-up progressed well, facilitated by access to higher-grade ore in the Step 3 licence area. The mine’s production guidance for the full-year remains unchanged at between 18-million and 20-million tonnes.
Anglo’s metallurgical coal production decreased by 25% to 4.2-million tonnes, with two longwall moves in the period compared to only one in the first quarter of 2018. Production guidance for the full-year remained unchanged at between 22-million and 24-million tonnes.
Thermal coal export production decreased by 2% to 6.6-million tonnes, with a solid operational performance across the South African mines offset by lower production at Cerrejón, in Colombia, owing to dust management.
The full-year production guidance for thermal coal remains unchanged at between 26-million and 28-million tonnes.
Nickel production increased by 14%, owing to the later timing of yearly planned maintenance. The full-year production guidance remains unchanged at between 42 000 t and 44 000 t.
Manganese ore production decreased by 1% to 874 000 t, while manganese alloy production decreased by 15% to 35 200 t.