Anglo American coal mines on track following longwall moves

Anglo American has reported a fall in production across its global operations during the March quarter, mainly due to planned longwall moves at metallurgical coal mines in Australia.

The company’s metallurgical coal production fell 25 per cent against the March 2018 quarter to 4.16 million tonnes after longwall moves at the Moranbah and Grasstree sites in Queensland.

Anglo American had two longwall moves in the March quarter compared to only one during the same period a year earlier.

In 2018, a longwall move took place only at the Grasstree operation in the March quarter.

At Moranbah, an extended 15-week longwall move was undertaken earlier this year to enable additional maintenance that will shorten a second longwall move the company has planned for the second half of 2019.

Anglo American’s 2019 metallurgical coal production guidance remains unchanged at 22-24 million tonnes despite the March quarter drop in output.

“Production is 6 per cent lower in the first quarter, with two planned longwall moves at metallurgical coal accounting for 80 per cent of the reduction,” Anglo American chief executive officer Mark Cutifani said.

“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.”

Anglo American also had isolated production issues at the Venetia diamond operation, at Kumba Iron Ore in South Africa, and at its platinum group metals operations, contributing to the overall production drop.

The company did, however, report year-on-year increases in production at its copper (4 per cent) and nickel (14 per cent) operations.

At the Minas-Rio iron ore site in Brazil, Anglo American’s output was 61 per cent higher than a year earlier as its production ramp-up at the operation continues.

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