Anglo to Keep Iron-Ore Output Forecast Even as Prices Drop

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Anglo American Plc, which produces metal and minerals from Africa to Brazil, will maintain its iron-ore output plans this year even as prices more than halved and production rose 18 percent.

Production of the steelmaking ingredient was 13.4 million metric tons in the three months through March from 11.3 million tons a year earlier as the new Minas-Rio operation in Brazil contributed 1.2 million tons while the Kumba unit in South Africa delivered the rest, the London-based company said Thursday in a statement. It still plans to produce 47 million tons to 48 million tons through Kumba and 11 million to 14 million tons from the Latin American business.

Anglo is bringing Minas-Rio to full output as iron-ore prices fell 52 percent over the past year. The biggest producers, including BHP Billiton Ltd., fueled a supply surplus by boosting low-cost output even as the economy of China, the biggest buyer, grew at the slowest pace in more than two decades. Anglo responded by reducing dividends at Kumba, trimming spending and cutting jobs at the Pretoria-based unit.

“Whilst a number of actions have already been implemented, further initiatives are being taken to reduce capital expenditure and lower the cost of production,” Kumba said in a separate statement.

Copper output fell to 171,800 tons from 202,000 tons in the same period last year following a planned shutdown of processing plants at the Los Bronces mine in Chile due to water shortages, Anglo said.

Platinum Increase

Output from Anglo’s platinum unit, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, increased 50 percent to 536,000 ounces for the March quarter as some of its mines in South Africa recovered from a five-month strike that ended in June, Johannesburg-based Anglo American Platinum Ltd. said in a statement.

Production of export metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking, declined 17 percent to 5 million tons. Output of the thermal variety for power plants rose 11 percent to 8.7 million tons.

The company also mines diamonds in southern Africa and Canada. Production at De Beers, the gem producer 85 percent owned by Anglo, rose 2 percent in the third quarter to 7.7 million carats. Anglo reduced its output forecast for the year to a range of 30 million carats to 32 million carats, from 32 million carats to 34 million carats, “in light of current trading conditions,” it said.

Anglo kept its 2015 output forecasts for copper, coal, platinum unchanged.

The shares rose 4.7 percent, the most since March 20, to 1,062 pence by the close in London.

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