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Anglo American output in Q3 jumps, thanks to Collahuasi

Collahuasi copper mine in Chile. (Image courtesy of Minera Collahuasi.)

Anglo American (LON: AAL) said on Wednesday its mining operations continued to recover from the early impact of the covid-19 pandemic during the three months to September 30.

Total production climbed by 24% compared with the previous quarter as the company’s mines are now running at about 95% of normal capacity.

The numbers, however, are still below last year’s recorded output in the third quarter for most of the commodities Anglo produces.

Diamond production — through De Beers — dropped 4% from Q3 last year, while platinum fell 2% and palladium was flat.

Iron ore output declined by 9% in South Africa and 18% in Brazil. Coal was the worst performing commodity, with the company recording a 26% production fall for metallurgical and 11% decline for thermal.

Copper help

Copper production increased by 4% on the back of continued strong performance at Anglo’s Collahuasi copper mine in Chile. That helped mitigate the company’s overall year on-year production decrease to 3%, despite planned maintenance at Minas-Rio iron ore in Brazil and excluding the effect of the suspended Grosvenor metallurgical coal operation in Australia.

Coronavirus-related challenges continue to impact Anglo and Mitsubishi’s $5 billion Quellaveco copper project, although the company still expects first production in 2022. 

Anglo maintained most of its full-year production targets, although it cut annual guidance for export thermal coal to 19 million tonnes from the previous 21 million tonnes due to strikes in Colombia.

The company’s results come a day after news of a lawsuit against the company in South Africa broke.

Law firms Mbuyisa Moleele and Leigh Day filed a class-action lawsuit at the country’s High Court on Wednesday, claiming the company caused widespread lead poisoning from a mine it owned in Zambia until 1974.

The move seeks both compensation for about 100,000 people and a clean-up of the Kabwe city area.