Anglo posts mixed production results

Anglo American’s total copper and diamond production has increased in the second quarter but the company’s coal, platinum and iron ore output fell.

Anglo’s quarterly production figures reveal the tough job facing new chief executive Mark Cutifani, as the company attempts to deal with mounting industrial issues and underperforming South African mines as well as substantial cost blowouts at its Brazilian iron ore project. 

A drop in iron ore output is in stark contrast to production figures this week released by both BHP and Rio Tinto which have announced rising iron ore outputs.

Output from Anglo’s South African iron ore operations were 11.3 million tonnes down 1 per cent year on year while export sales volumes dropped 4 per cent, with strikes impacting activities at Kumba.

Industrial relations issues have also impacted Anglo’s platinum mines in South Africa but Cutifani’s extensive experience working in the region – he was previously the head of AngloGold Ashanti – is expected to help the company solve the worker and government issues facing its operations.

The miners copper output rose 14 per cent to 182,900 tonnes in quarter two in comparison with the same time last year but the company left its annual copper production guidance unchanged citing a “backdrop of continued caution around the operating performance recovery and stability” of production of the metal, Financial Times reported.

A softer coal market saw Anglo cut its coal production, export metallurgical coal production fell 9 per cent to 4.4 million tonnes.

The miner also moved to place its Aquila coal mine into care and maintenance mode from July 30, and has called for voluntary redundancies at its Grasstree operations in central Queensland.

The company laid off a number of workers late last year, axing 35 full time jobs at its Grasstree coal mine50 positions from its Moranbah North mine when it reduced operations down to a single longwall, and it was reported another 40 jobs were cut from its Dawson coal mine. 

Cutifani is currently reviewing all aspects of the business and is expected to announce the outcome next week. 

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