January 23, 2020 / 8:01 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil mine boosts Anglo American output as Chile drought hurts copper growth

(Adds details on Brazil, Chile)

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Anglo American on Thursday reported a 4% increase in fourth-quarter production, as it ramped up its Brazilian Minas-Rio mine, while water shortages at its Los Bronces mine in Chile weighed on the global miner’s copper output.

Copper production dropped 13% to 159 kilo tonnes (kt) and output from the Los Bronces mine slumped 28% for the quarter, hurt by the drought. The miner had reported a 7% increase in total production on a copper equivalent basis for the fourth quarter of 2018.

“We have delivered our full-year production targets across the business ... Increased production at Metallurgical Coal in Australia was offset by the drought in Chile,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said in a statement.

The miner in December received the final operating licence it needs to boost production at its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil to its full capacity of 26.5 million tonnes a year.

It backed its 2020 production targets on Thursday

Chile’s vast copper mines largely maintained production through early November, though some mining companies have warned that protests, strikes and road blockades had taken a toll, according to Chile state copper agency Cochilco.

As the protests subside, market watchers are looking to gauge potential impacts on investment decisions by the many large mining companies operating in Chile.

Anglo, which is listed in London and Johannesburg, has interests in four projects in Chile, the country that produces nearly a third of the world’s copper.

The company, which has been facing water shortage issues at its mine in Chile, in 2015 developed a water recycling system to transport water through a 56-kilometer pipeline from the Las Tortolas tailings dam to Los Bronces after which the mine recycles more than 70% of the available water, according to the company website.

Anglo has set its target to recycle or re-use water to meet 75% of its global water requirements by 2020. (Reporting by Shanima A and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shailesh Kuber)

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