Solid results for Anglo American despite strikes

MINER Anglo American yesterday reported “solid” performance across five of its seven key commodities, as it said South African industrial action had hurt platinum output.

The miner’s Kumba iron ore production jumped 14 per cent in the third quarter to a record 12.5m tonnes, driven by a faster-than-expected ramp-up of the Kolomela mine, which is expected to produce at least 7m tonnes this year.

Coal production increased 12 per cent to 4.5m tonnes, while copper production soared 12 per cent to 157,300 tonnes over the quarter. Nickel output jumped 38 per cent to 9,000 tonnes.

However Anglo American’s platinum operations, which have been hit by wildcat strikes since mid-September, reported flat output quarter on quarter at 649,000 ounces.

Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest platinum producer, lost 42,000 ounces of equivalent refined metal over the quarter, as well as an additional 96,300 ounces from 1 to 24 October due to the strikes. As a result, it warned that the full-year production target of the precious metal would be reduced to between 2.2 and 2.4m ounces.

Industrial action spread to Amplats’ Rustenberg operations last month. Weeks later, it spread to its Kumba Iron Ore unit. Then at the start of October, industrial action began at the Sishen mine, which has led to the miner losing around 2.2m tonnes of iron ore.

Analyst Cailey Barker at Numis Securities said yesterday that Anglo American had reported “pretty good results considering the challenges to the business”.