The largest decline was seen at its biggest operation, Los Bronces in Chile, which fell 25% to 68,700t from 91,700t due to prolonged and record drought conditions. This saw plant throughput fall 42% due to low water availability which was partially offset by planned higher grades of 1% compared with 0.8% a year ago.
This was compensated to some degree by a 16% increase in output from the Collahuasi mine (44% Anglo American) to 66,500t of attributable production from 57,300t a year ago due to higher plant throughput of 14Mt compared with 13Mt a year ago, higher copper recovery of 89.1% compared with 86.3% due to plant optimisations and higher grades of 1.20% compared with 1.16%.
Production at El Soldado fell slightly from 12,100t to 11,900t.
Despite the first quarter decline, the company maintained its production guidance for 2020 at 620,000-670,000t, subject to water availability and the extent of further COVID-19-related disruptions.
In Peru, the company has put its Quellavecco development project in Moquegua on stand-by for at least three months due to the government-imposed lockdown of the country to halt the propagation of COVID-19. The majority of people working on the project downed tools on March 17 as a national emergency was declared.
Anglo American still aims to achieve first production from the US$5.3 billion project in 2022.
Quelleveco is due to produce 300,000 tonnes per year of copper and molybdenum in concentrates during its first 10 years of operation at a throughput rate of 127,000 tonnes per day.