Kumba's profit has fallen. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Johannesburg - Anglo American Plc, the mining company whose platinum unit has been paralysed by a South African strike, said fourth-quarter production of the metal rose 25 percent as it recovered from earlier labour disruptions.

Total equivalent refined platinum output was 520,000 ounces in the three months ended December 31 compared with 416,000 ounces a year earlier, when walkouts closed mines for as many as eight weeks, the London-based company said today in a statement.

Production at its Kumba Iron Ore unit climbed 25 percent to 11.3 million metric tons and copper output advanced 24 percent to a record 214,400 tons.

Anglo American Platinum, the biggest producer of the metal, closed shafts and cut jobs in South Africa last year as it sought to return to profit.

Pretoria-based Kumba recovered from a two-week walkout in 2012 at the Sishen operation, Africa’s largest mine for the steel-making ingredient, even as it struggled with depletion.

“Rustenburg, Amandelbult and Union increased production in aggregate by 38 percent as they recovered from the effect of illegal industrial action” in the fourth quarter of 2012, Anglo said.

Anglo American Platinum climbed as much as 4.4 percent to 454.50 rand, the highest intraday level since December 20, and traded 3.8 percent stronger at 452.02 rand by 9:36 a.m. in Johannesburg.

Production of export metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking, increased 3 percent to 4.7 million tons.

Output of the thermal variety for export increased 8 percent to 7.9 million tons.

Profit Estimates

Anglo may report underlying earnings of $2.16 billion for 2013 on February 14, according to the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

Profit by that measure fell 54 percent to $2.84 billion in 2012 following a decline in commodity prices and an increase in operating costs.

Anglo also mines diamonds in southern Africa and Canada.

Production at De Beers, a gem producer owned by Anglo, jumped 13 percent in the fourth quarter to 9.1 million carats.

The company’s copper output at Los Bronces in Chile increased 16 percent to 110,000 tons.

Production from the country’s Collahuasi mine doubled to 64,800 tons.

Anglo American rallied 3 percent to 255 rand, while Kumba increased for the first time in four days, adding 3.9 percent to 452 rand. - Bloomberg News