Anglo American posts flat Q4 overall output, sees higher copper in 2022

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A worker attends to machinery at a smelter plant at Anglo American Platinum's Unki mine in Shurugwi

LONDON (Reuters) -Global miner Anglo American said on Thursday its overall production for the fourth quarter was flat as a strong diamonds performance countered a 4% fall in copper, for which it expects higher output this year.

After producing 647,200 tonnes of copper in 2021, in line with the previous year, the London listed miner now expects between 680,000 and 760,000 tonnes for this year, driven by its new Quellaveco copper mine in Peru.

However, it warned about possible COVID-related disruptions and water shortages in Chile, where it mines the bulk of its copper.

"(At Quellaveco) We are on track and within budget, we mined our first ore in October 2021, and we are expecting our first production of copper concentrate in the middle of this year," Chief Executive Mark Cutifani said in a statement.

The miner expects Quellaveco to produce between 120,000 and 160,000 tonnes in 2022, followed by an average of 300,000 tonnes per year for the first 10 years at full production.

In the three months to December, rough diamond production rose by 15% from a year earlier mostly on increased output from Botswana and Namibia to meet renewed consumer demand.

Iron ore production fell 7% in the fourth quarter, due to unplanned maintenance at its Minas-Rio mine in Brazil, but was up 3% for the year at 63.8 million tonnes.

Its Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) operations more than doubled refined production in the fourth quarter, resulting in a record full-year refined production of 5.1 million ounces. For 2022, it expects to produce between 4.1 million and 4.5 million ounces.

(Reporting by Clara Denina in London and Shanima A in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)

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