Anglo American: Mixed results in the Last Quarter

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Anglo American (LSE:AAL), one of the world’s largest mining companies, today said its production of iron ore and copper shot up in the fourth quarter of 2011.   However, the company said its’ diamond and platinum production lowered during the same period.

How the metals performed

The globally diversified miner reported a 5% increase in iron ore production on the year to 12.4 million metric tons during the fourth quarter.

The production of copper increased by an impressive 10% on the year to 170,000 tons during the same period last year.

Iron ore contributed to about 42% of the company’s first-half operating profit before special items, whilst the copper division contributed to about 24% of the company’s first-half operating profit before special items.

Though the miner’s output of diamond and platinum decreased in the three months ending Dec. 31, as platinum production shot down by 9% to 583,200 ounces while diamond production shot down by 24% to 6.5 million carats.

Platinum and diamonds accounted to 9% and 8% respectively of the company’s first-half operating profit before special items.

Reasons for the performance

Anglo American, just like competitors BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Group, has been carrying out expansion of its’ mines and studying acquisitions with the intention of increasing its’ production with increasing demand in various part of the world.

Anglo said that in 2011 it might spend up to $85 billion to increase its output at about one hundred projects over the decade.

As with the previous year, the company completed three major projects. In November, it finished the expansion of its Chilean Los Bronces copper mine. And, in December, it commenced working on its new million-ton-a-year South African Kolomela iron ore mine.

They also finished its Brazilian Barro Alto nickel project in March and is now working to finish their Brazilian Minas Rio iron ore project in the second half of 2013.

On the other hand, the company’s production of platinum declined largely because of a greater number of safety stoppages leading to decreased mine production and increased processing of lower grade surface stockpiles.

Company spotlight

Anglo American is one of the world’s largest mining companies. The company has extensive mining operations that span southern Africa, South America, Australia, North America, Asia, and Europe.

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