London - Miner Anglo American [JSE:AGL]
posted a 10% rise in copper output in the final three months of 2011, boosted by its flagship Los Bronces mine as it recovered from a tough third quarter hit by blizzards and lower ore grades.
The Los Bronces mine, at the heart of the miner’s complex legal dispute with Chilean state copper producer Codelco, helped to offset the impact of stoppages at the Collahuasi mine, also in Chile. Copper accounts for roughly a third of Anglo’s profit.
Iron ore output was up 5% year-on-year (y/y) at 12.4 million tonnes, helped by the $1bn Kolomela mine, brought into production ahead of schedule in South Africa.
Metallurgical coal was up 4% to 4.1 million tonnes in the quarter, helped by Australian operations now recovered from the floods that hit production at the start of 2011.
Platinum, however, saw refined production down 19% y/y, with equivalent refined platinum production 9% lower, hit by 32 safety stoppages over the quarter - double the stoppage rate of the year before.
Anglo’s Anglo Platinum unit warned last week that 2011 profit likely fell by about a third, due to a black empowerment deal but also a high number of safety stoppages and higher costs for labour and electricity.