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Anglo warns of risk to FY'20 copper output amid 'unprecedented' Chilean drought

Anglo American PLC's third-quarter copper output fell 8% year over year to 158,900 tonnes as a severe drought in central Chile weighed on output at its Los Bronces mine, prompting the company to lower the upper end of its full-year production target by 10,000 tonnes, to 650,000 tonnes, it said Oct. 22.

The company flagged the "unprecedented" drought as a risk to its 2020 output, with output at Los Bronces suffering in the quarter due to lower plant throughput due to water shortages.

The Minas Rio iron ore mine in Brazil produced 6.1 million tonnes in the period. Anglo raised the mine's 2019 target by 1 Mt to a range of 20 Mt to 22 Mt. Output at its Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. unit was flat at 10.5 Mt.

The diversified mining major's Australia metallurgical coal segment boosted output by 22% year over year to 6.6 Mt thanks to improvements in wash plant throughput and equipment productivity as well as the timing of longwall moves.

However, planned decreases at Anglo's South Africa operations, compounded by weather-related impacts at its Cerrejón mine in Colombia, reduced total thermal coal production by 18% to 6.3 Mt, with full-year guidance lowered to about 26 Mt from the previous target of 26 Mt to 28 Mt.

Diamond production from its De Beers SA unit shrank 14% to 7.4 million carats due to planned output cuts at operations in South Africa and Canada in response to lower demand. South African output plummeted 60% to 535,000 carats due to lower mined volumes at the Venetia mine prior to its transition from open pit to underground mining. The closure of the Victor mine in June caused output at Anglo's Canadian mines to fall 34% to 779,000 carats.

Concentrate production at its Anglo American Platinum Ltd. subsidiary inched down 1% to 526,800 ounces of platinum, while palladium output remained relatively flat at 351,800 ounces.

Nickel production for the three months slipped 2% to 11,300 tonnes on the back of annual planned maintenance. Manganese ore production was up 3% to 910,000 tonnes.