Thursday 22 October 2020 7:49 am

Anglo American sees production grow 24 per cent in third quarter

Mining giant Anglo American said it had seen a “strong operational recovery” in the third quarter, with a 24 per cent increase in production compared to the previous quarter. 

“We are currently operating at about 95 per cent of our normal capacity,” Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said in the company’s latest production report.

“We have also seen encouraging improvement in demand for rough diamonds as we approach the holiday selling season, although there is still some uncertainty in terms of the timing of a sustained recovery.”

It comes the day after the South Africa and UK-based miner was hit by a potentially huge lawsuit concerning the alleged poisoning of soil and water around Kabwe, an enormous lead mine in South Africa.

Anglo American controlled the mine until 1974. But the filing says Anglo failed to clean it up, leaving dangerous levels of lead. The miner said it would review the claims and “take all necessary steps to vigorously defend its position”.

The company’s diamond production hit 7.2 million carats in the third quarter of 2020. That was down 4 per cent year on year but roughly double the total produced in the previous quarter.

Nonetheless, overall diamond production was still 20 per cent down for the year.

Copper production increased year on year in the third quarter. Anglo American produced 165,700 tonnes, up four per cent compared to the same period a year earlier.

That meant production in 2020 so far was the same as a year earlier.

Platinum production was down two per cent year on year in the third quarter. Meanwhile, palladium production matched 2019 levels.

Anglo left its diamond production guidance for the year unchanged at 25m to 27m carats. It altered its copper guidance to 630,000 to 660,000 tonnes, from 620,000 to 670,000 tonnes previously.

It increased its platinum production guidance, but lowered its thermal coal target.