Anglo American output held back by Chile drought, diamond weakness – by Shanima A and Noor Zainab Hussain (Reuters U.S. – Janaury 23, 2020)

(Reuters) – Anglo American (AAL.L) said on Thursday that water shortages at its Los Bronces mine in Chile had weighed on the global miner’s copper output in the fourth quarter, while rough diamond production was hurt by a softer global market.

The miner, however, reported a 4% rise in total production for the final quarter of 2019 as it ramped up output from its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil. It had reported a 7% increase in total production on a copper equivalent basis for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Copper production for the latest quarter dropped 13% to 159 kilo tonnes (kt) and output from the Los Bronces mine slumped 28%, hurt by the drought in Chile.

“Increased production at Metallurgical Coal in Australia was offset by the drought in Chile … as well as the anticipated lower production from De Beers,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said.

Rough diamond production fell 15% to 7.8 million carats, as the company cut output in response to global weakness. Challenges in the diamond market stemmed from a combination of factors including soft demand due to protests in Hong Kong, and the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

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