Anglo American reported solid second quarter production performance, broadly in line with its expectations. Iron ore production from Kumba decreased by 9% to 10.4 million metric tons (mt) due to mining feedstock constraints to the plants at Sishen. Minas-Rio produced 1.8 million mt (wet basis) of iron ore, a 55% increase compared to the first quarter, reflecting the ongoing ramp up of the operation.
Export metallurgical coal production increased by 9% to 5.3 million mt with higher production from Moranbah, due to a longwall move in Q2 2014, and development coal from the Grosvenor project. Thermal coal production for export increased by 5% to 8.6 million mt, primarily due to higher production in Australia largely the result of a change in mix.
Copper production decreased by 5% to 184,500 mt, as expected and mainly due to the temporary shutdowns of the processing plants at Los Bronces to manage water reserve levels and plant stability issues at Collahuasi. Nickel production decreased by 41% to 6,300 mt as expected, due to the planned Barro Alto furnace rebuilds.
Equivalent refined platinum production increased by 60% to 572,000 oz benefitting from reduced industrial stoppages compared to 2014. Diamond production decreased by 6% to 8 million carats, mainly due to lower grades and reduced plant availability at Orapa. In addition, operational flexibility at the Venetia and Jwaneng tailings treatment plants was used to reduce production marginally, in response to softer trading conditions.
The first six months of 2015 have seen significant further weakness and ongoing volatility in the prices of the bulk commodities, particularly iron ore and metallurgical coal. Anglo American said it has reviewed its near and longer term commodity price assumptions at the midyear, while also noting the gradual and ongoing reduction of consensus prices within what remains a wide range of forecasts. As a result, the company expects to record noncash impairments within special items at the end of June relating to Minas-Rio and certain Australian coal assets of approximately $3-4 billion on a post-tax basis.