By Oliver Griffin
Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) on Thursday reported that total production on a copper equivalent basis rose 3% in the fourth quarter of 2018, with double-digit percentage growth in production of copper and rough diamonds.
The diversified mining company said that, excluding the negative effect of halted operations at its Minas Rio project, total production in the fourth quarter rose 7%.
Copper output rose 23% to 183,500 metric tons, due to continued strong operational performance and planned higher grades.
Rough diamond production from De Beers, Anglo American's majority-owned diamond producing subsidiary, rose 12% to 9.1 million carats, due to increased production at the Orapa mine, the company said.
Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS.JO), another majority-owned subsidiary, said total platinum-group metal production--which includes platinum and palladium--rose 3% to 1.3 million ounces during the fourth quarter.
For the full year, De Beers' diamond production hit 35.2 million carats, at the lower end of the 2018 guidance range. For 2019, Anglo American forecasts diamond production of 31 million-33 million carats, saying lower production will be caused by exiting the Venetia open-pit mine.
Total copper production for the year rose 15% to 668,300 tons, Anglo American said. The miner forecast 2019 copper production in a range of 630,000-660,000 tons.
Anglo American Platinum said it expects total production of 4.2 million-4.5 million ounces in 2019. Lower guidance is due to a transition of Sibanye-Stillwater Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200342826/composite SBGL +5.28% material to a tolling arrangement in place of its concentrate purchased, the subsidiary said.