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Anglo American Q4 Output Rises - Update

Miner Anglo American Plc (AAL.L,AAUKY.PK) Thursday reported a 5 percent increase in iron ore output for the fourth quarter, helped mainly by initial production from Kolomela mine and continued improvement in performance at its 70-percent-owned Amapá iron ore operations in Brazil. Copper production was up 10 percent from last year. Iron ore and copper are Anglo American's major revenue earners.

The company said its iron ore production increased to 12.43 million tonnes in the fourth quarter from 11.81 million tonnes last year. According to the company, the 9 Mtpa Kolomela mine commissioned five months ahead of schedule, with first shipment from Saldanha port in December 2011. Sequentially, iron ore production increased 2 percent.

Copper production increased 10 percent to 170,000 tonnes, helped by the commissioning of Los Bronces expansion and higher ore grades at Los Bronces, Collahuasi and El Soldado. Production improved 22 percent from the preceding third quarter.

As at the end of 2011, the company had 138,400 tonnes of copper provisionally priced at 345 c/lb. The company noted that the provisional pricing of copper sales resulted in a negative operating profit adjustment of $278 million for the full year 2011. In the year 2010, it recorded a positive operating profit adjustment of $195 million.

Anglo American said that its manganese ore output in the quarter slipped 1 percent from the prior year. Production was 11 percent lower than the third quarter, as planned maintenance at Hotazel Manganese Mines (South Africa) and lower plant availability due to wet weather at GEMCO (Australia) impacted performance, the company stated.

Metallurgical coal production increased 4 percent to 4.1 million tonnes, helped by record production from its Australian open cut metallurgical coal operations.

Export thermal coal production from South Africa and Colombia grew 5 percent to 8.6 million tonnes. Nickel production increased 125 percent to 9,900 tonnes, as production from Barro Alto continued to ramp up, the company stated.

Meanwhile, Platinum refined production decreased 19 percent to 710,000 ounces, mainly due to a greater number of safety stoppages, which resulted in lower mine production and increased processing of lower grade surface stockpiles. Diamond production also decreased 24 percent to 6.5 million carats.

Last week, Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO, RIO.AX,RIO.L) reported increased iron ore output for the fourth quarter, with production and shipments in Pilbara mines beating the company's previous achievements. Annual iron ore production also increased, while shipments were lower than production due to extreme weather conditions.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP: Quote,BHP.AX, BBL, BLT.L) reported a 22 percent increase in iron ore production for the second quarter, boosted by record quarterly production at Western Australia Iron Ore. Production of metallurgical coal grew 9 percent. BHP Billiton also noted that commitment to its growth pipeline now exceeds $26 billion.

Anglo American said it will announce its preliminary results for the full year on February 17.

AAL.L is currently trading at 2,688 pence, up 33.5 pence or 1.26 percent, on a volume of 288 thousand shares on the LSE. AAUKY.PK ended on Wednesday at $21.10.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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