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Anglo American increases copper output in 2022 due to the ramp-up of production in Peru

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(Kitco News) - Global mining group Anglo American announced today that its copper production in 2022 increased by 3% to 664.5 ktonnes, primarily due to the ramp-up of production from the company's new Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, while Chile's copper production declined by 13% to 562.2 ktonnes.

The company said that ChileĀ“s central zone continues to face severe drought conditions, adding that the outlook for 2023 remains very dry and these conditions place pressure on water availability.

"In the short term, various management initiatives to improve water efficiency and secure alternative sources of water continue to mitigate the impact on production," the company said. "An agreement to secure desalinated water supply for more than 45% of Los Bronces' water needs from 2025 was completed in Q4 2022. This is the first step of an integrated plan to eliminate the use of fresh water at the Los Bronces operation."

Anglo American noted that its copper production guidance for 2023 is 840,000-930,000 tonnes (Chile 530,000-580,000 tonnes; Peru 310,000-350,000 tonnes), adding that production in Chile is subject to water availability, and in Peru is subject to any socio-political effects.

The company's rough diamond production (through De Beers) in 2022 of 34.6 million carats increased by 7% compared to 2021, reflecting strong operational performance across the assets. Production guidance for 2023 is 30-33 million carats (100% basis), subject to trading conditions.

Metal in concentrate production from the company's platinum group metals (PGMs) operations in 2022 of 4 million ounces decreased by 6%, due to the impact of lower grades at Mogalakwena and planned infrastructure closures at Amandelbult. Production guidance (metal in concentrate) for 2023 is 3.6-4.0 million ounces.

Nickel production in 2022 decreased by 5% to 39,800 tonnes, primarily due to planned annual maintenance at Barro Alto as well as the impact of high rainfall in December. Production guidance for 2023 is 38,000-40,000 tonnes.

Iron ore production in 2022 decreased by 7% to 59.3 million tonnes. Production guidance (wet basis) for 2023 is 57-61 million tonnes (Kumba 35-37 million tonnes; Minas-Rio 22-24 million tonnes). Kumba is subject to third party rail and port performance.

The company's steelmaking coal production in 2022 increased by 1% to 15 million tonnes. Production guidance for 2023 is 16-19 million tonnes.

Looking into 2023, CEO Duncan Wanblad said, "In 2023, our unwavering focus remains on ensuring a safe and stable platform for strengthened and repeatable operational performance, while progressing towards our sustainability ambitions and advancing our organic growth options.

"The completion of the transaction in January to combine First Mode and nuGenTM - our zero emissions haulage system - is designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of this innovative decarbonization technology as we work towards carbon neutral operations by 2040."

Anglo American is a producer of diamonds (through De Beers), copper, platinum group metals, premium quality iron ore and steelmaking coal, and nickel, with crop nutrients in development.

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