African, Chilean copper mines growth lift Glencore Xstrata output by 32%

African, Chilean copper mines growth lift Glencore Xstrata output by 32%

Collahuasi mine, in Chile, one of the main drivers of Glencore Xstrata's strong copper performance.

Commodities giant Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN) reported Tuesday a significant output increase across its key commodities, with copper jumping 26% to 1.5 million metric tonnes thanks to strong performance at its African and Chilean mines.

The division, which accounts for roughly 30% of the company's profits, benefited from improved production at its Congolese mines and at Collahuasi in Chile, a joint venture with rival Anglo American (LON:AAL) inherited after last year’s megamerger with Xstrata.

Coal, another large revenue driver for the company, rose 4% to 138.1 million tons last year, driven by several expansion projects at its Colombian Prodeco mine and various Australian thermal-coal assets.

The company also boosted its iron-ore mineral resources by 21% and more than doubled certain oil resources.

Zinc and lead production dipped 9% and 2% respectively from the year-earlier period as the Brunswick and Perseverance mines reached the end of their lives, but the company expects zinc output to return to growth this year with the help of Australia.

For the first time, Glencore Xstrata officially acknowledged copper reserves of 6.9 million tons at its for sale $5.9 billion Peruvian Las Bambas project. MMG, a subsidiary of China's Minmetals, is now the front-runner to buy the operation, as part of a condition set by Chinese antitrust authorities to allow Glencore merge with Xstrata.