Anglo American said it continues to increase production and reached 90% of production capacity at the end of June. The company said it acted quickly to help safeguard the livelihoods of its workforce and host communities and those moves are paying dividends. “Anglo American has shown resilience in addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19,” Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said. “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.”

In its recently released second-quarter production update, Anglo American reported that Minas-Rio in Brazil continued its strong operational performance, with 6.2 million metric tons (mt) of high-quality iron ore production. The Collahuasi mine in Chile increased copper production by 38%. Metallurgical coal production suffered a 32% decrease to 4 million mt due to two incidents underground, at Moranbah and Grosvenor, as well as longwall moves at Grosvenor and Grasstree. The COVID-19 lockdowns across southern Africa affected De Beers, Kumba, thermal coal operations, and platinum group metals (PGMs). Refined PGM output was also impacted by the repairs and ramp-up of the Amplats ACP plant.

Rough diamond production decreased by 54% to 3.5 million carats, primarily due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in southern Africa. Anglo said its production guidance remains unchanged at 25 million to 27 million carats, subject to continuous review based on the disruptions related to COVID-19 as well as the timing and scale of the recovery in demand.

Copper production increased by 5% to 166,800 mt due to continued strong plant performance at Collahuasi, partially offset by expected lower production at Los Bronces due to lower water availability resulting from the unprecedented drought conditions in central Chile. Production from Los Bronces decreased by 12%, to 80,700 mt. At Collahuasi, attributable production increased by 38% to 75,700 mt, a historical record for the operation, driven by higher throughput (14 million mt vs. 12 million mt) and record copper recovery (92.0% vs. 87.3%), reflecting plant improvement projects implemented during 2019, as well as planned higher grades (1.31% vs. 1.21%). Sales volumes of 293,800 mt in H1 2020 were impacted by temporary port closures in Chile due to heavy tidal swells limiting vessel availability in June.

The company said production guidance for the year remains unchanged at 620,000 mt to 670,000 mt, subject to water availability and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Platinum sales volumes decreased by 67% to 195,700 oz and palladium sales volumes decreased by 66% to 160,800 oz due to lower refined production in the period, which was partially offset by a drawdown in refined metal inventory to supplement sales. Production guidance is unchanged at 1.5 million to 1.7 million oz of platinum and 1 million oz to 1.2 million oz of palladium, subject to the extent of any further COVID-19 related disruptions.

Kumba Iron Ore’s total production decreased by 20% to 8.5 million mt. This reflects lower workforce levels in response to the COVID-19 lockdown, the subsequent reopening of operations with reduced workforce levels of 50% and the ramp-up in production to normal run-rates in June. Sishen’s production decreased by 21% to 5.8 million mt and Kolomela’s production decreased by 17% to 2.7 million mt. Sales volumes decreased by 23% to 8.1 million mt due to COVID-19 logistics constraints affecting Transnet and poor weather conditions, as well as no domestic offtake. Full-year guidance for iron ore remains unchanged: Kumba, 37 million to 39 million mt; and Minas-Rio, 22 million to 24 million mt; subject to the extent of any further disruptions.