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Kumba Profit Rises by Up to 30% on Iron-Ore Price Gains

Kumba Iron Ore Ltd., the Anglo American Plc unit that owns Africa’s largest iron-ore mine, said full-year profit rose as much as 30 percent after prices of the steelmaking ingredient climbed and the South African rand fell.

Profit excluding one-time items advanced to as much as 15.8 billion rand ($1.5 billion) in 2013 from 12.2 billion rand a year earlier, Kumba said today in a statement. The Pretoria-based company plans to publish annual results on Feb. 11.

“The increase in earnings is largely attributable to an increase in export iron-ore prices and a weaker rand-dollar exchange rate,” Kumba said. Gains were partially offset by lower production from the Sishen mine, its largest project, located in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.

Kumba rose 3.6 percent to 460 rand by the close in Johannesburg, the highest since Oct. 17.

The company plans to almost double total production by 2030, with new sites in western and central Africa potentially accounting for more than 20 percent of output. Iron-ore suppliers are betting on resilient demand for the commodity, which entered a bull market in July as users in China replenished stockpiles.

Kumba receives payment in dollars for its iron-ore exports from South Africa, where it has all its producing assets. The rand depreciated 19 percent against the dollar last year, making it the worst performer among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Benchmark ore with 62 percent iron content delivered to the Chinese port of Tianjin traded at an average of about $135 a dry ton in 2013, 5.5 percent more than in 2012, according to The Steel Index.

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