Anglo American Iron-Ore, Copper Output Rises as Platinum Plunges

Anglo American Plc, the mining company reviewing global operations from Australia to Brazil, said second-quarter production of iron ore, copper, diamonds and nickel increased, as platinum and thermal coal declined.

Iron-ore volumes were 11.5 million metric tons, compared with 11.3 million tons a year earlier, the London-based mining company said today in a statement. Copper rose 6 percent to 194,400 tons, while platinum equivalent refined production slumped by 40 percent to 358,000 ounces.

A five-month strike in South Africa’s platinum industry crippled output for producers, including Anglo unit Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the biggest miner of the metal. Amplats, as the unit is known, last week said first-half profit fell as much as 96 percent because of the strike, which ended June 24.

Anglo American is reviewing its operations around the world to increase earnings after Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani took over last year amid cost overruns and delays in developing projects. Cutifani set a goal of improving Anglo’s return on capital employed to at least 15 percent by 2016 from 8 percent last year and plans to sell assets that fail to achieve the target.

Anglo lost 239,000 ounces of platinum production in the second quarter, which brought the total to 424,000 ounces for the first half. It missed out on a further 16,000 ounces of output as operations came back on line. The strike didn’t affect the Unki mine and the open-pit Mogalekwana open-pit operations, where output rose 23 percent to 96,000 ounces, it said.

Coal Supplies

Production of export metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking, jumped 10 percent in the second quarter to 4.8 million tons. Output of export thermal coal declined 5 percent to 8.1 million tons because of lower production from Drayton in Australia.

Anglo also mines diamonds in southern Africa and Canada. Production at De Beers, the gem producer it owns, gained 7 percent in the second quarter to 8.5 million carats after a recovery from last year’s pit flooding at its Venetia mine in South Africa.

Nickel production surged 25 percent to 10,600 tons, mainly because of “operational stability” at the Barro Alto mine in Brazil, Anglo said. Production at Barro Alto climbed 41 percent to 8,600 tons.

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