Anglo American feels impact of Bowen Basin setbacks

The Grosvenor operation in Queensland. Image: Anglo American

Anglo American has finished the second quarter of 2020 with a drop in production at both the Moranbah and Grosvenor coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

The company’s metallurgical coal production decreased by 32 per cent from the same quarter in 2019 to 4 million tonnes following two underground accidents at Moranbah and Grosvenor.

Following the suspension of operations at Grosvenor since the ignition event in May, Anglo American revised its 19-21 million tonne metallurgical coal guidance to 16 to 18 million tonnes for the year.

Investigations at the Grosvenor mine are ongoing. Anglo American reported that mining would not resume until it is safe to do so, with any additional safety measures required.

Anglo American’s coal production also suffered due to a ground fall at Moranbah, which delayed a longwall move before operations restarted in May.

The company scaled back open cut operations at the Dawson and Capcoal mines in response to a reduced demand for lower quality metallurgical coal due to coronavirus.

Longwall moves at the Grosvenor site and the Grasstree mine, also in the Bowen Basin were also attributed to the company’s lower coal result.

Anglo American’s thermal coal production also dipped on its second quarter 2019 result, from 6.6 million tonnes to 4.4 million tonnes, representing a 34 per cent decrease year on year.

The company’s international iron ore production had a lift of 5 per cent, finishing off the quarter with 6.2 million tonnes produced at the Minas-Rio mine in Brazil.

Minas-Rio’s production guidance remains unchanged at 22 to 24 million tonnes, which is subject to further coronavirus-related disruption, following the South American nation being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the pandemic hitting South America, Anglo American maintained strong performance at the Collahuasi copper operation in Chile, achieving a 5 per cent increase in production, finishing the quarter with 167,000 tonnes.

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said the company showed resilience against the challenges of the pandemic with its quick action to safeguard its workforce and host communities.

“Our comprehensive response supported the continuity of the majority of our operations during varying degrees of lockdown in different jurisdictions, albeit at reduced capacity in many cases,” Cutifani said.

“Continued strong performances from our Minas-Rio iron ore operation in Brazil and the Collhuasi copper operation in Chile helped mitigate our overall decrease in production to 18 per cent, as we also addressed operational issues at our metallurgical coal operations.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.