Copper takes some shine off Anglo American’s results

Anglo American (LON:AAL) reported Thursday higher output for most of the commodities it mines during the fourth quarter of last year, except for copper, which output declined a staggering 19% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Anglo saw operational improvements across its portfolio, but copper output suffered from lower grades, bad weather and strikes at its Chilean mines.

The significant drop in production of the red metal, down to 146,600 tonnes, was due mainly to lower grades at its flagship Los Bronces mine in Chile and the impact of strikes at that operation as well as at El Soldado, also in Chile, the company said.

Diamonds and platinum, another two key commodities for Anglo American, helped the miner’s overall results for the period.

Rough diamond production from its De Beers unit, the world's top miner of the gems by value, increased by 10% to 7.8 million carats compared with the same period in 2015, when output was reduced in response to trading conditions.

Platinum production was up only 2% to 610,100 ounces, which chief executive officer Mark Cutifani justified by saying the company keeps "mining to demand.”

Iron ore output from Kumba, a unit the company’s is trying to sell, rose 9% on the year to 11.9 million tonnes, while production from Minas-Rio jumped up 49% to 4.9 million tonnes.

Despite the mostly positive figures, the stock was slightly down (o.51%) in London late afternoon to 1,354.50p.