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Anglo American's Q4'16 output up except copper, metallurgical coal

Anglo American Plc posted an increase in production in the fourth quarter of 2016 across all commodities barring copper and export metallurgical coal, compared to the same year-ago quarter.

In the three months, iron ore output from the Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. unit increased 9% to 11.9 million tonnes, driven by improved mining productivity and higher plant yields at Sishen and by higher throughput at Kolomela. Iron ore output from the Minas Rio mine jumped 49% year over year to 4.9 million tonnes.

Output of platinum metal in concentrate increased 2% year over year to 610,100 ounces on the back of strong production from the Mogalakwena and Unki mines as well as BRPM and Kroondal. Production of refined platinum dropped 15% to 631,600 ounces, affected by the Waterval smelter runout and the subsequent rebuild.

Rough diamond production increased 10% to 7.8 million carats on a yearly basis, as output in the year-ago quarter was cut due to trading conditions, according to a Jan. 26 release.

The company's total attributable copper production in the three months dropped 19% year over year to 146,600 tonnes, mainly due to expected lower grades, adverse weather and illegal industrial action by contractor unions at Los Bronces.

Nickel output increased 4% year over year to 10,900 tonnes in the quarter, following Barro Alto's successful ramp-up to nameplate capacity in the third quarter of 2016.

Production of export metallurgical coal slipped 2% to 5.4 million tonnes, primarily due to the August 2016 sale of the Foxleigh mine.

Export thermal coal, however, saw a 4% year-over-year increase in the quarter, to 8.0 million tonnes, despite being impacted by the sale of the Callide mine in late October 2016.

For full-year 2016, Anglo American's output increased year over year for nickel, platinum and iron ore from Minas Rio, while output fell for diamonds, copper, export metallurgical and thermal coal, and iron ore from Kumba.

Full-year production of iron ore from the Kumba operations dropped 8% to 41.5 million tonnes, while it surged 76% to 16.1 million tonnes from the Minas Rio mine, compared to 2015.

Production of platinum metal in concentrate improved 2% to 2.4 million ounces, while refined platinum output declined 5% to 2.3 million ounces, compared to 2015.

Rough diamond production for the year dropped 5% year over year to 27.3 million carats. Sales for rough diamonds increased 55% to 32.0 million carats on the back of improved trading conditions; however, the average realized price was 10% lower year over year at US$187 per carat.

Total attributable copper production fell 10% to 577,100 tonnes, while nickel production surged 47% year over year to 44,500 tonnes.

The output for both export metallurgical coal and export thermal coal dropped 2% and 4%, respectively, to 20.9 million tonnes and 32.5 million tonnes, on a yearly basis.