Anglo progresses sustainability as Chile drought hits copper output

21st July 2022 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Anglo progresses sustainability as Chile drought hits copper output

Anglo American CEO Duncan Wanblad
Photo by: Anglo American

JOHANNESBURG ( – Diversified mining and marketing company Anglo American is progressing towards its stretching sustainability targets on all fronts while partnering to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen-powered haul truck technology across the mining industry and other transport applications.

This was highlighted by Anglo American CEO Duncan Wanblad on Thursday, when the company reported a 21% decrease in Chile copper production to 133 900 t on planned lower grades and lower water availability and cited operational momentum and asset resilience as positioning it well for a stronger second half of the year.

Chile's central zone continues to face severe drought conditions, with the two years to June being the driest since records began, and the outlook remaining very dry. Various management initiatives to improve water efficiency and secure alternative sources of water continue.

Overall Q2 production was down 9% on the same quarter in 2021 on lower grades and water availability in copper in Chile, planned maintenance at the Minas-Rio iron-ore operation in Brazil, and Aquila’s longwall ramp-up in Australia.

Production from Chile's Los Bronces copper operation decreased by 24% to 64 300 t on lower ore processed owing to the impact of expected low water availability.

At Collahuasi in Chile, attributable copper production decreased by 16% to 62 100 t and production from El Soldado fell 32% to 7 500 t, both on planned lower grades.

The average realised price of copper in the half year was 401c/lb, including 145 900 t provisionally priced on June 30 at an average of 374 c/lb.

First copper concentrate from Quellaveco in Peru, achieved at the start of the third quarter, marked a milestone ahead of receiving final regulatory clearance for commercial operations to begin. Once fully operational, Quellaveco is expected to add around 10% to group copper output.

The London- and Johannesburg-listed company’s production report for the second quarter (Q2) to June 30 retained full-year copper production guidance at 660 000 t to 750 000 t, along with unit cost guidance remaining at 147c/lb.

Full-year guidance for platinum-group metals and iron-ore also remain unchanged, with diamond guidance up and steelmaking coal guidance falling by two-million tonnes to between 15-million tonnes and 17-million tonnes on higher unit costs of $110/t, up from $105/t.

On the steelmaking coal front, the average realised half-year price for hard coking coal was $407/t, compared with an index price of $467/t, with the price realisation decreasing on a lower contribution of premium hard coking coal following the closure of the Grasstree operation.

Full-year rough diamond production guidance of 32-million carats to 34-million carats is two-million carats up on the previous 30-million carats to 33-million carats on robust demand and strong operational performance. Unchanged  is the unit cost guidance of $65/ct against a 58%-higher consolidated average Q2 realised price of $213/ct.

Anglo reiterated its commitment to sustainably delivering many of the raw materials critical to the decarbonisation of global energy and transport systems.

“We are progressing towards our stretching sustainability targets on all fronts,” Wanblad stated in a release to Mining Weekly.

During the quarter, Anglo unveiled the world's largest hydrogen-powered haul truck as part of its nuGenTM zero emission haulage solution, a step towards carbon neutrality across operations by 2040.

The agreement to combine nuGenTM with engineering partner First Mode is designed, Wanblad said, to “accelerate the commercialisation and deployment of this technology across the mining industry and other transport applications".