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Anglo American lowers 2023 copper production guidance

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LONDON — Global miner Anglo American Plc on Friday lowered its copper production guidance for 2023, impacted by lower grades at its Chilean mines.

The London-listed miner expects a 3% fall in overall production this calendar year, as the start of production at the Quellaveco mine in Peru and strong diamond output only partially made up for lower output elsewhere. Production should grow about 5% in 2023 from 2022 levels, it added.

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It now expects its copper mines to produce between 650,000 and 660,000 tonnes in 2022 and between 840,000 and 930,000 tonnes in 2023, compared with a previous 2023 estimate of 910,000 tonnes to 1.02 million tonnes, the company said in its annual investor update.

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Anglo had reported a 14% fall in copper output for the first nine months of the year on lower grades and short water supply in Chile.

The Quellaveco mine in Peru’s southern region of Moquegua has received $5.5 billion in investment and began pilot production of copper concentrate last July. Anglo estimates it will produce 300,000 tonnes a year for the first 10 years.

“This year has seen us focus on our immediate priorities of safety and restoring normal operational disciplines given the pandemic related disruptions of the last few years,” said Chief Executive Duncan Wanblad.

Wanblad added that in 2022, those priorities were added to “concerns around geopolitically-led economic volatility, extreme weather and other localized disruptions at our operations.”

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After returning record dividends to shareholders thanks to strong commodity prices in 2021, Anglo in July cut payouts on higher costs and lower production. High inflation, the prospect of a global recession and doubts about demand in China, the world’s biggest user of raw materials, could hit earnings for Anglo and its peers as costs rise.

The company expects to spend within a range of $5 billion to $6.5 billion annually for the next three years and grow output until 2024, after which it predicted some leveling in 2025. (Reporting by Clara Denina, Helen Reid, Pushkala Aripaka; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Nivedita Bhattacharjee)

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