Glencore sees base metal and coal production fall, expects rebound this year
The FTSE 100 mining and commodities giant said its guidance for 2021 was unchanged from December, with copper expected to be lower but its other major metals and coal ramping back up.
“Our mining assets performed well in difficult circumstances during 2020,” said chief executive Ivan Glasenberg, who will soon be handing over the reins to Gary Nagle, the head of the company’s coal operations.
He said the various precautionary operating changes against transmission of COVID-19 that started to be out in place from April and May, continued into the second half.
“Production picked up accordingly, with year-over-year increases in zinc, gold and silver production,” Glasenberg added.
He noted that if excluding the Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was put on care and maintenance in 2019 as the low price of cobalt made the operation unviable, group production of copper was in line with the previous year and cobalt production was 6,200 tonnes higher as the nearby Katanga mine continued to ramp-up.
COVID-19 restrictions and international mobility restrictions hit production of ferrochrome in South Africa, oil in Chad and nickel at Koniambo, he added, while lower coal production from Australia reflected “various proactive market-related supply reductions”.
After agreeing to sell its stake in the Mopani copper mine to an existing minority shareholder in December, Glasenberg said the board was working on other options to sell other non-core assets.