Mark Cutifani
Johannesburg - Anglo American reported a 9 percent rise in overall production for the first quarter of 2017 compared with 2016, but copper output fell 3 percent due to poorer grades and a temporary suspension at the El Soldado mine in Chile.

The miner also said Cyclone Debbie in Australia had led to coal production losses in the last week of March and affected the rail network, which is expected to affect sales volumes in the second quarter.

Anglo was among the miners hardest hit by a slump in commodity prices in 2015 and early 2016. In the depths of the downturn, it said it was narrowing its focus to a group of core, high-value commodities, but after becoming the top performer in Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, boosted by a rise in raw materials prices, it said it would no longer be a forced seller of assets.

Chief executive Mark Cutifani said on Monday an increase in new production had helped to deliver “a strong operational performance” overall for the quarter ended March 31.

Read also: Anglo American profit doubles

Copper output fell 3 percent due to poorer quality ore in Chile combined with halting of operations at El Soldado from February 18 after the regulator decided not to approve a plan to update the mine.

For the full year, however, Anglo said copper production guidance was unchanged at 570 000 to 600 000 tons.

New production of other minerals included higher diamond output after Canadian mine Gahcho Kue reached commercial production in March. Anglo American has put higher-value diamonds and platinum, along with copper, at the heart of its portfolio.