Anglo American plc (LSE: AAL.L) copper production increased by 6% to 167,800 tonnes in Q4, compared to 158,800 tonnes in Q4 2019, largely due to secured access to industrial water at Los Bronces copper mine in Chile, the company reported on Thursday.
Production at Los Bronces increased by 34% to 95,900 t for the quarter.
Collahuasi mine in Chile delivered record production for the 12-month period, with 276,900 tonnes, which more than offset planned maintenance in the quarter.
Anglo reported total copper production of 647,400 in 2020, 1% higher than 2019 (638,000). The company maintains its 2021 copper output guidance at between 640,000 tonnes and 680,000 tonnes.
Iron ore production decreased by 11% year-on-year to 16.03 million tonnes, with Kumba operations in South Africa down 19% to 9.57 million tonnes.
Iron ore production at Minas-Rio in Brazil increased by 5% to a record 6.5 million tonnes in Q4.
“As expected, second half production returned to 95% of 2019 rates, benefiting from strong performances at Los Bronces and at Minas-Rio,” CEO Mark Cutifani said in a media release.
“The recovery was all the more credible given planned maintenance at both the Collahuasi copper and Kumba iron ore operations and the suspension of operations at the Grosvenor metallurgical coal mine.”
The company expects to produce between 64 million and 67 million tonnes of iron ore in 2021.
Nickel production for 2020 was 43,500 tonnes, compared to 42,600 tonnes in 2019. Nickel output for 2021 is expected to be between 42,000 tonnes and 44,000 tonnes.
Manganese ore production increased by 4% to 942,400 t in the fourth quarter, which Anglo attributes to a stronger mining performance and higher concentrator yield in Australia.
The company has trimmed its production guidance for diamonds in 2021, owing to ongoing operational challenges.
Anglo American’s De Beers business is now expected to produce between 32 million and 34 million carats compared with a previous target of 33 million to 35 million carats. Output in the fourth quarter slipped 14%. For 2020, production was down 18% year on year at 25.1 million carats.
Production in Botswana decreased by 28% in Q4 to 4.3 million carats, driven by the planned treatment of lower grade material at Jwaneng, where production decreased by 56%. This was partly offset by a 9% increase at
Orapa due to a planned improvement in grade, Anglo American said in a press release.
Namibia production decreased by 26% to 0.3 million carats as the majority of the marine fleet remobilised during Q4, following the Q3 stoppage. South African production increased to 1.3 million carats. Production in Canada decreased by 23% to 0.8 million carats, as maintenance resulted in lower plant throughput.
Rough diamond sales in Q4 totalled 6.9 million carats, compared to 7 million carats in the same quarter of 2019.
Anglo American coal production decreased by 33% to 4.2 million tonnes in the fourth quarter, due to the suspension of operations at the Grosvenor mine in Australia, following an underground gas incident in May 2020, and lower production from Moranbah.
The 2021 production guidance for metallurgical coal is unchanged at 18 million to 20 million tonnes.
Midday Thursday, Anglo American’s stock was up nearly 4% on the LSE. The company has a $45.5 billion market capitalization.