FILE PHOTO: The logo of Anglo American is seen on the jacket of an employee of the Los Bronces copper mine, on the outskirts of Santiago
CAPE TOWN – Anglo American's production fell 6 percent in the first quarter due mainly to two planned longwall moves that disrupted mining at its metallurgical coal operations.

However, Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said in a statement yesterday that by the end of the 3-month period “we have increased our production run-rate, are on track to deliver this year's production targets and our guidance is unchanged.”

Anglo American shares closed 2.1 percent lower at R379.80 on the JSE on Thursday.

This week, JPMorgan Chase & Co joined a host of other investment research firms, such as Deutsche Bank and Société Générale, which have this year either downgraded or maintained “hold” ratings on Anglo. According to reports, JP Morgan cited a fully valued share price among the reasons for its rating cut.

Cutifani said lower coal volumes accounted for 80 percent of the decline in the group's production.

There were also isolated production issues at Venetia Diamond Mine, Kumba Iron Ore and in the platinum group metals operations.

At Kumba production volumes fell by 12 percent compared to the first quarter of 2018, due to maintenance requirements at Sishen and Kolomela.

Logistical performance improved, however, reflecting the work of a joint steering committee and working closer with Transnet. This helped to underpin the maintenance of the 2019 full year guidance announced in Kumba’s 2018 annual results.

Copper production rose 4 percent.

Minas-Rio’s iron ore production increased by 61 percent as its ramp-up gathered momentum, facilitated by access to higher grade ore on the Step 3 licence area.

De Beers’ diamond production fell 8 percent to 7.9 million carats, due mainly to lower production at Venetia in Limpopo, as it transitions from open pit to underground. Copper production increased 4 percent to 161 000 tons.

Platinum and palladium production fell by 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively, due to operational challenges and once-off benefits.

Thermal coal production fell by 2 percent to 6.6 million tons, after a solid performance across the South African mines, offset by lower production at Cerrejon in Colombia.

The Cerrejon open pit coal mine is the biggest in Latin America.

Output at the mine between January and March was down 10 percent at 2.2 million tons after production was curtailed due to dust. Production at the South African coal assets increased 2 percent to 4.4 million tons.

BUSINESS REPORT