Lead, Zinc and coblat

Glencore records higher zinc, silver output but lower ferrochrome and copper production

Glencore records higher zinc, silver output but lower ferrochrome and copper production
Mining News Pro - Global miner Glencore says its mining assets performed well in difficult circumstances during 2020, with year-on-year increases in zinc, gold and silver production.

Glencore says Covid-19 and the related mandatory suspensions and restrictions impacted on ferrochrome production in South Africa, oil output in Chad and nickel at the Koniambo operation.

Additionally, the company initiated proactive market-related supply reductions in the second half of 2020, primarily related to coal production from Australia.

The company in 2020 produced 1.2-million tonnes of copper, compared with 1.3-million tonnes produced in 2019. Copper guidance for this year is set at about 1.22-million tonnes.

Glencore says its lower copper production reflects its Mutanda operation being on care and maintenance.

“Excluding Mutanda, 2020 copper production was in line with 2019, while cobalt production was 6 200 t higher, reflecting Katanga’s continued successful ramp-up to design capacity levels," comments CEO Ivan Glasenberg.

Cobalt production was 27 400 t, compared with 46 300 t produced in 2019, while zinc output was up to 1.1-million tonnes, from the 1.07-million tonnes produced in 2019.

The guidance for cobalt production for this year is set at about 35 000 t, while zinc production is expected to reach 1.25-million tonnes.

The company attributed its higher zinc production to higher zinc content from the Antamina operation of 40 000 t and improved output from the Mount Isa operations.

Lead production was slightly lower year-on-year at 259 400 t, compared with 280 000 t produced in the prior year.

Nickel also came in lower in 2020 at 110 200 t, compared with the 120 600 t produced in 2019.

Glencore has set its guidance for nickel at 117 000 t for this year.

Further, Glencore produced 916 000 oz of gold in 2020, relative to the 886 000 oz produced in 2019, while silver production increased to 32.7-million ounces, from 32-million ounces in 2019.

Ferrochrome production for the year totalled 1.02-million tonnes, compared with 1.4-million tonnes produced in 2019. The company is targeting ferrochrome production of 1.4-million tonnes for this year.

Glencore explains that the South African lockdown and resulting suspension of the company’s smelting operations in the second quarter last year, with a phased restart thereafter, impacted on ferrochrome production. This while the Lydenburg smelter has been placed on extended care and maintenance.

The company’s remaining four smelters have been fully operational since the fourth quarter, resulting in materially higher quarter-on-quarter production.

Overall, coal output was 106-million tonnes last year, against production of 123-million tonnes in the prior year. Glencore has set its total coal guidance at 113-million tonnes for this year.

In terms of oil, Glencore says its entitlement interest oil production of 3.9-million barrels was 1.6-million barrels, or 29% lower, in 2020 than 2019. Operated fields in Chad were placed on care and maintenance in March and April 2020 and are yet to be restarted given continued pandemic-related challenges in international mobility.

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