Officials at Anglo American Plc have reported Q1 2014 outputs beating estimates, as copper climbed 18% to 202,000 metric tons (mt) from higher ore grades at its Los Bronces and Collahuasi projects in Chile, and met coal surging 31% to 6.1 million mt.
In all, copper, met coal and nickel represent 47% of operating profits, while 2014 copper guidance increased to 730,000 mt, up from 700,000 mt. CEO Mark Cutifani began a worldwide review of assets in 2013 after replacing Cynthia Carroll, who quit amid cost overruns and delays at the Minas-Rio iron-ore project in Brazil.
The Minas-Rio project, scheduled to ship its first ore by Q4 2014, was 88% complete by the end of Q1, company officials said; capital expenditure forecasts for the iron-ore asset are steady at $8.8 billion. Iron-ore output, which comprises nearly 50% of earnings, totaled 11.3 million mt in Q1, a 10% increase from 2013.
Production at the company’s Anglo American Platinum Ltd. subsidiary, meanwhile, dropped 39% to 357,000 oz in Q1 as a 90-day pay strike paralyzed South Africa’s prolific platinum belt. Consequently, London-based Anglo officials cut their full-year production estimate by up to 13% amid the possibility of more cuts.
Output at Kumba Iron Ore, Anglo’s unit in South Africa, advanced 10% to 11.3 million mt. South Africa, the continent’s No. 1 economy, hosts Anglo operations that account for 45% of revenue company-wide. Anglo mines diamonds elsewhere in southern Africa and in Canada. Production at De Beers, an Anglo-owned gem producer, rose 18% to 7.5 million carats.
Thermal coal output from South Africa, meanwhile, rose 6% to 4.1 million mt. Total thermal coal exports increased 14% to 7.9 million mt, company representatives added. Production at the Cerrejon mine in Colombia, at the same time, soared 95%, reflecting the strike that affected the same period last year.