South American, African mines lift Glencore Xstrata copper output

South American, African mines lift Glencore Xstrata copper output

Open pits of the Mutanda copper mine seen from the air, via YouTube.

Mining and commodities giant Glencore Xstrata (LON:GLEN) reported Tuesday higher first-quarter copper and coal output thanks mainly to higher grades at its mines in South American and output expansion at its operations in Africa.

Copper output jumped 24% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period of 2013. Production reached 382,000 tonnes, said the company, driven by expanding operations at its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo and at its Ernest Henry site in Australia.

Output also improved at its Collahuasi and Antamina mines, in Chile and Peru, respectively.

Copper has gained an increasingly important role in Glencore Xstrata's portfolio since last year’s mega merger to the point it has become the diversified miner with the biggest exposure to the red metal.

Own-sourced coal production, another key earnings driver for FTSE-100 company after copper, rose 4% to 34.1 million tons in the first quarter compared with the same quarter a year before when a lengthy strike took its toll at the Colombian Cerrejon mine.

Zinc output fell 18% on year to 306,000 tons in the first quarter due to the closure of its Perseverance and Brunswick mines in June 2013.

While the company didn’t say anything about a new chairman, the WSJ reported last week the search has been whittled down to two candidates: BP’s former chief executive, Tony Hayward, and Sir Frank Chapman, the former boss of U.K. energy company BG Group (LON:BG).