Tuesday 4 February 2020 10:57 am

Glencore shares rise as cobalt production offsets copper drop

Shares in global miner Glencore rose five per cent this morning as the firm brushed off lower production volumes of metals such as copper, gold and silver.

Production of the red metal slipped six per cent in 2019 to 1.37m tonnes, whilst gold production fell 15 per cent to 848,000 tonnes.

The company has been beset by a raft of operational challenges in the last year, which knocked the share price as much as 19 per cent in 2019.

The commodities giant is also under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, as well as the US Department of Justice, over allegations of bribery.

A 10 per cent increase in cobalt output is a particular highlight for Glencore, which had to close its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of schedule in November as a result of falling prices.

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Cobalt, of which 63 per cent is currently produced in the Congo, is a crucial element in the manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, which are used for electric vehicles.

The firm said that beefed up production at its Katanga mine had offset the closing of Mutanda.

Glencore remains under pressure from investors, many of whom are concerned about the environmental impact of fossil fuel use in the extractives sector.

However, analysts now expect shares to rally on the back of the update. Tyler Brody from RBC Capital Markets said that the company “continues to screen as a strong value proposition”.

In December Glencore’s chief executive Ivan Glasenberg hinted he could step down this year, having said in 2018 he expected to retire in the next three to five years.