Glencore posts 23pc increase in copper output

Suzie Neuwirth
GLENCORE Xstrata said yesterday that third-quarter copper production had soared by 23 per cent and that profits for its trading arm are broadly in line with expectations.

The mining and trading group, which completed a long-awaited merger earlier this year, said that there had been strong growth at the Collahuasi mine, which rose 43 per cent following the restart of a mill and a return to higher ore grades.

Gold production rose 13 per cent over the period and coal production went up six per cent.

Copper and coal production accounts for over two-thirds of profit from the industrial side of Glencore’s business, and output at both climbed in the quarter and the nine months to the end of September, offsetting expected weakness in nickel and zinc, where ageing or costly mines have been closed down.

Zinc expansion projects in Australia and Africa helped to offset lost volumes from the Brunswick and Perserverance mines in Canada, which ceased production in June. Excluding the two shut mines, zinc output rose nine per cent in the third quarter.

“Of the base metals, copper production was strongest at 413,000 tonnes, compared with our 404,000 tonnes forecast,” said Deutsche Bank analysts in a note.

“Both zinc and nickel volumes were slightly lower than our expectations…Total coal output was higher than our expectations, at 37.1m tonnes compared to 35.1m tonnes.”

Glencore gave little detail on the performance of its trading arm, but said that metals and energy remain the strongest, while it is also witnessing an improvement in agricultural performance.