Anglo American's copper output up 23% in Q4

By Staff Writer

Jan 29, 2016 09:52 PM EST

The copper production and retained operations at Anglo American Plc rose 23 percent for the fourth quarter of 2015. This makes the total copper equivalent basis production growth rate during 2015 at five percent when compared with 2014. The prices of copper, coal, nickel and iron ore tumbled during the second half of 2015. 

Anglo American's inventory of copper by end of 2015 stood at 197,631 tons. The copper provisional price was at 214 c/lb taking the realized copper price for entire 2015 to 228 c/lb. The final price of copper sales would be determined in 2016 financial year. 

The copper production rose by four percent to 181,400 tons for the fourth quarter of 2015, while retained operations in copper rose 23 percent during the quarter, according to Anglo American. The production from Los Bronces rose 27 percent to 111,000 tons. The high production was possible due to the increased output, grades and recoveries. 

Iron ore output from Kumba dropped 12 percent to 10.9 million tons. Sishen is being transitioned to a lower cost pit configuration. The metallurgical coal production also rose 11 percent to 5.5 million tons due to strong operational performance at Grasstree and Moranbah. 

RTT News reports that thermal coal production also fell 21 percent to 7.7 million tons because as frequent strikes in South Africa impacted the production activity. Adding to this, adverse weather conditions at Cerrejón further dampened the production levels. The copper production from the retained operations excluding AA Norte assets rose 23 percent. The overall copper production rose four percent. 

The ongoing business rose 21 percent on account of higher grades of ore were mined. Nickel production was encouragingly up 57 percent. The completion of furnace rebuilds at Barro Alto added to the incresed production levels. Boa Vista Fresh Rock plant capacity addition also led to 23 percent increase in Niobium production. Niobium is used in specialist steel alloys making. Niobium enhances the strength of steel.

Precious metals diamond and platinum were also not encouraging. Platinum output was remained flat during the period. Despite increase in Anglo American's production of platinum, the lower purchases by third parties discouraged it. Diamond production was also down by 16 percent owing to sluggish market conditions, as reported by Hargreaves Lansdown

The output restrictions pertaining to water availability were lifted and this added to the encouraging performance for the fourth quarter. The production at Collahuasi rose 17 percent to 61,500 tons due to higher grades. 

Anglo American witnessed lower prices during the second half of 2015. Iron ore prices were 41 percent lower than year ago. Copper prices too fell 24 percent and Nickel dropped 32 percent. Coal prices too eased 20 percent.

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