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Rail issues to drive production down at S. Africa's Kumba Iron Ore

Kitco News

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Kumba Iron Ore cut its production guidance for 2022, 2023 and 2024 on Friday, blaming South Africa's poor freight rail performance. Kumba, majority-owned by Anglo American , now expects to produce 37 million tonnes of iron ore this year, down from previous guidance of between 38 million and 40 million tonnes.

In 2023 the company is targeting 35 million-37 million tonnes, down from 39 million-41 million tonnes, and 37 million-39 million tonnes in 2024, down from previous guidance of 41 million-43 million tonnes.

"Rail constraints throughout the year have led to a significant build-up of iron ore stockpiles at our mines and this has necessitated a decrease in production given the lack of available storage space," Kumba Chief Executive Mpumi Zikalala said.

South Africa's state-owned logistics firm Transnet has been unable to meet demand for freight trains to transport iron ore, coal, and other commodities, due to poor maintenance, a lack of locomotives, and large-scale copper cable theft on its railway lines.

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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