LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Anglo American has posted a drop in fourth quarter production of platinum and iron ore, where it was hit by strikes that battered South Africa’s mining industry last year.
Copper - the second largest contributor to Anglo’s profit line after iron ore - provided marginally better news but rose just 2 percent to 172,900 tonnes, as troubles at its Collahuasi mine in Chile offset increased output at Los Bronces, one of the company’s major growth projects.
Iron ore was the largest contributor to Anglo’s profit in 2011, but the mining group said on Friday that production at its key Kumba Iron Ore unit fell 19 percent to 9 million tonnes, after 5 million tonnes of production were lost at its Sishen mine due to the strike.
Equivalent refined platinum production fell by 29 percent, due to almost two months of labour unrest.
Anglo has unveiled plans to tackle losses at its platinum arm, slashing jobs and mothballing mines, and it has also appointed a new chief executive, to replace outgoing boss Cynthia Carroll, who left under shareholder pressure over poor returns.
Friday’s numbers illustrate the size of the task ahead for new arrival Mark Cutifani, who will be tasked with radically improving the company’s lagging share performance.
The company did not provide updated details on costs or timing for its flagship Minas Rio iron ore project in Brazil, where it has been hit by delays and cost overruns and which is widely expected to be written down before Anglo’s annual results in February.