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Anglo American ups 2019 Minas Rio output forecast after Step 3 license approval

Anglo American PLC said Dec. 21 that it has increased its 2019 production guidance for the Minas Rio iron ore operation in Brazil after securing regulatory approval relating to the Step 3 license area.

The approval provides greater operational flexibility and allows the company to access higher-grade iron ore to support a production increase at the project towards its full design capacity of 26.5 million tonnes per year. The company previously expected to receive its Step 3 operating license in the first half of 2019.

Anglo American expects iron ore production at Minas Rio to reach between 18 million and 20 million wet tonnes, up from the previous guidance of between 16 million and 19 million wet tonnes. Meanwhile, the company lowered the unit cost guidance for Minas Rio to between US$28 and US$31 per wet tonne, from the previous guidance of between US$30 and US$33 per wet tonne.

This came shortly after the company announced the resumption of operations at Minas Rio following making repairs to the pipeline that carries the iron ore in slurry form from the mine to the port. In late March, Anglo American was ordered to suspend the mine after multiple pipeline ruptures.

Minas Rio is also expected to report an underlying EBITDA loss of US$320 million for 2018, compared to guidance of a loss of US$300 million to US$400 million.

Anglo American said it will provide an updated production forecast for 2020 and 2021 in due course.