London, England — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 21 April 2011  – The substantial drop in coal production by international mining giant Anglo American adds further bad news to the global coal industry, which is struggling to meet the rising demand for the fuel to feed the world’s coal-fired energy plants.

Anglo announced here that it had stuck to its production targets despite a first quarter that saw floods and heavy rains hampering output, with coal output from its Australian operations down by over a third.

The world’s fifth-biggest diversified miner, Anglo American is the latest operator to detail the impact of freak weather across its operations. BHP Billiton warned yesterday that persistent rains in Australia were delaying a recovery in its coal operations.

Anglo said iron ore production had fallen 19%, while copper had dropped 14%, the latter hit by both heavy rains and lower grades.

“It was pretty much as anticipated. We have had an awful lot of rain in Queensland and that has had an impact on everyone operating in the region,” analyst Charles Kernot at Evolution said.
“To some extent they are a bit worse than BHP, but each operator is going to be slightly differently impacted.”

Analysts at Oriel said the production numbers were worse than expected across many divisions: “Nonetheless, the company has said that full year targets should be achievable as production shortfalls are made up during the back end of the year, notably in platinum.”

Anglo “’ Australia’s fourth-biggest producer of coal and its number two exporter “’ said output of metallurgical coal, used for steelmaking, had dropped over a third to 2.1Mt from its Australian mines.

Australia’s Queensland state lost up to 30Mt of coal production when monsoonal rains and a cyclone battered the eastern seaboard between November and February. “A number of initiatives are in progress for the remainder of 2011 to mitigate the production shortfall from Q1,” the miner said in its statement.