August 6, 2021

Glencore: production slump in 2020


2 min

Commodity mining and trading behemoth Glencore experienced an almost widespread contraction in output last year. The suspension of activities at the Mutanda site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for maintenance in particular thwarted the group’s appetites for copper and cobalt.

At the same time, the departing boss indicates that the group is evaluating the future of other assets within the group.

Credit: Keystone

“Excluding Mutanda, copper production remained stable compared to 2019 when that of cobalt increased by 6,200 tonnes, reflecting the continued acceleration of Katanga’s capacities (also in the DRC, editor’s note),” underlines Director General Ivan Glasenberg, cited in the report released Wednesday.

The boss on the departure indicates at the same time that the group is evaluating the future of other assets within the group, after the sale of the Zambian site of Mopani to a minority shareholders in mid-January.

In absolute terms, the extraction of copper melted by 8% to 1.26 million tonnes and that of cobalt was pruned by 41% to 27,400 tonnes. In the metals category, lead (-7%), nickel (-9%) and ferrochrome (-28%) also suffered. Zinc (+ 9%), gold (+ 3%) and silver (+ 2%) on the other hand have progressed.

The multinational Baar invokes the deleterious effects of the pandemic to explain the marked decline in the production of coal (-24%) and hydrocarbons (-29%).

The objectives outlined in December for the current year remain relevant. The appointment of coal mining manager Gary Nagle to succeed long-time foreman Ivan Glasenberg in the second half of the year had somewhat overshadowed the new roadmap.

This forecasts a stabilization of copper production at around 1.2 million tonnes. The volumes of cobalt, essential for batteries, should rebound to 35,000 tonnes this year. The normalization of the situation in Australia should bring the volume of coal to around 113 million tonnes, against 106 million.