South Africa's Kumba Iron Ore , Africa's biggest iron ore miner, said its output for the fourth quarter of 2013 rose by 25% y/y and was higher by 19% q/q to 11.3mn tonnes. This was due to the recovered production at its Sishen mine that has suffered from the impact of a strike in Q4 2012, safety stoppages in August 2013 and ongoing pit constraints. Sishen mine's Q4 production of 8.4mn tonnes jumped by 39% y/y and by 31% q/q. The mine pit remained constrained, which affected the supplies to the processing plants. Kumba is implementing a production recovery plan to address the current pit constraints and a longer term operational strategy for the mine. Kumba's new Kolomela mine produced 2.7mn tonnes in Q4, down 2% y/y and q/q. The mine, which started operations in 2012, has a full annual design capacity of 10mn tonnes. Production at Thabazimbi mine stood at 200,000 tonnes in Q4, down 17% y/y and by 37% q/q in line with ArcelorMittal South Africa's requirements. Kumba expects that agreement regulating the sale and purchase of iron ore between SIOC and ArcelorMittal South Africa , which is effective as of January 2014 , may enable the extension of the life of Thabazimbi mine through the introduction of low grade beneficiation technologies. Kumba reported total export sales volumes of 9.5mn tonnes, up 6% y/y and 1% q/q mainly due to the recovery in Sishen mine output. Domestic sales volumes, equal to 1.3mn tonnes, increased by 57% y/y and remained unchanged from the previous quarter due to increased off-take by ArcelorMittal South Africa . Total finished product stockpile levels were 2.8mn tonnes as of end-December, compared to 3.7mn tonnes a year earlier. JSE-listed Kumba is majority-owned by global mining group Anglo American .
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