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Glencore cuts copper guidance, to halt some Congo operations

Glencore’s suspended Mutanda copper and cobalt mine. (Image courtesy of Glencore.)

Miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON:GLEN) reported on Friday a 4% fall in copper output so far this year and cut 2019 guidance as it readies to halt some operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Switzerland-based company said that full-year copper production, excluding output from its African mines, will be around 1.010 million tonnes. Guidance for its copper operations in DRC and Zambia was around 375,000 tonnes, making a total of just under 1.4 million tonnes versus the 1.45 million previously anticipated.

Glencore is mothballing Mutanda copper and cobalt mine in DRC at the end of the year 

Glencore, which has decided to separate its African copper business from its wider copper operations, announced in August a restructuring plan and new targets for its Katanga mine in DRC. It also said at the time it would mothball Mutanda, its other mine in the Central African country, at the of the year.

Production at Katanga, the company’s main copper asset in Africa, hit almost 60,000 tonnes in the three months to September, up from 52,500 tonnes in the previous quarter. Output of cobalt, the battery metal that is produced alongside copper, came in a 4,800 tonnes, up from 2,600.

Overall, however, Glencore’s African copper division saw production drop by 5% to 283,000 tonnes

The Baar-headquartered firm also revised its zinc production forecast by 85,000 tonnes partly due to the delayed restart of a mine in Peru. Guidance for ferrochrome were also trimmed because of additional maintenance.

Responsible sourcing

In a separate statement, Glencore noted it has joined forces to accelerate responsible sourcing of raw materials with the World Economic Forum (WEF). 

The initiative will explore the building of a blockchain platform to address transparency, the track and tracing of materials, the reporting of carbon emissions or increasing efficiency, it said.

Mining companies are under increasing pressure from investors and stakeholders to tackle climate change and seek assurances that their supply chains are transparent and ethical.

A recent survey of global miners by consultants EY showed that 44% of executives believe their efforts towards effectively reducing the sector emissions and those of their clients will be key to keeping them in business.