Q3 Production Figures: A Mixed Bag
Anglo American, the industry giant, has reported a noteworthy 42% surge in its copper production for the third quarter, hitting 209,000 tons. This increase comes despite a production dip at the Los Bronces mine in Chile, attributed to a decrease in ore grades. In contrast, the Quellaveco mine in Peru recorded a substantial rise.
The company has, however, adjusted its annual copper production forecast downwards, now anticipating figures in the range of 830,000-870,000 tons — a deviation from the previous 840,000-930,000 tons. This change is in part due to setbacks such as a substation fire at the Los Bronces facility among other operational hurdles.
Individual Mine Performances
In the detailed breakdown for the quarter, Los Bronces faced a 20% reduction at 46,000 tons, while Cojahuasi and El Soldado, both in Chile, saw increases of 9% and 5%, respectively. Quellaveco significantly contributed to the surge with 88,000 tons, a jump attributed to successful ramp-up operations.
The challenges at Los Bronces extended beyond lower ore grades to include increased ore hardness and infrastructural hindrances, influencing the overall production dynamics.
Varied Results Across Metals
It wasn’t just copper posting interesting narratives. Platinum group metals (PGM) witnessed a downturn, with a 9% drop year-on-year, settling at 910,000 ounces. This category includes platinum, palladium, and rhodium, all recording declines due to operational hiccups, particularly an unforeseen water supply issue at one of the smelters.
Furthermore, nickel wasn’t spared either, with production marking a 7% decrease. Despite operational improvements at Brazil’s Codemín mine, the numbers suffered from lower ore grades at Barro Alto and planned maintenance activities.
This quarter’s report underscores the complexities of mining operations, where diverse factors can significantly sway production outcomes. Despite the challenges, certain Anglo American operations have managed to post impressive gains, particularly in copper, highlighting the sector’s resilience.