Anglo American iron ore, diamond output shines

London - Anglo American’s [JSE:AGL] iron ore and diamond output rose in the first quarter after production increased at its Minas Rio mine in Brazil and the gem market improved.

The company maintained most of its full-year forecasts but trimmed an estimate for nickel output.

First-quarter output of iron ore climbed 21% from a year earlier to 14.8 million tons, the London-based company said in a statement on Monday.

Diamond output from Anglo’s De Beers unit jumped 8% as mining started at the new Gahcho Kue mine in Canada and demand for the stones improved.

The century-old company is trying to engineer a turnaround to produce more materials from fewer mines. Anglo’s shares slumped to a record low in London in early 2016 as a rout in commodities sparked concerns about its debt position.

Chief executive officer Mark Cutifani announced a plan to radically shrink the company through asset sales, but reversed the strategy earlier this year after recovering commodity prices revived profits.

While the company is focusing on copper, diamonds and platinum, bulk commodities such as iron ore and coal, which it had sought to exit, have performed better in the past year and helped drive a return to profit.

Metallurgical coal output rose 28% to 5.2 million tons while thermal coal production increased 6%. Copper output declined 3% to 142 600 tons while platinum was little changed at 572 000 ounces.

Anglo maintained all its full-year production targets except for nickel, which was cut to an expected 43 000 tons to 45 000 tons, from an earlier goal of 45 000 tons, due to unplanned maintenance at its Brazil mine

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