Top miner Glencore Xstrata plc has met market forecasts with a Q1 2014 copper production increase of 24% year-on-year, driven primarily by output expansion in Africa and increasing ore grades in South America. Among diversified miners, Glencore enjoys the greatest exposure to copper, representing nearly 50% of 2013 profits.
Overall, the Baar, Switzerland-based company witnessed a Q1 2014 output of 382,000 copper tons — up from nearly 308,000 during 2013’s Q1 — boosted by expansion at the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s Mutanda mine and Australia’s Ernest Henry project with enhanced production at Collahuasi in Chile and Antamina in Peru.
African copper production, in particular, jumped 27 % to 106,400 tons, bolstered by growth at Mopani and Katanga operations, alongside a Matunda project where growth, said officials, is pending an approaching expansion phase. Elsewhere on the continent, Glencore has received government approval for its $900 million greenfield Askaf North iron ore project in Mauritania, where production is forecast by Q1 2017.
Coal, which represented 13% of 2013 earnings, witnessed a 4% output increase to 34.1 million tons, after its Cerrejón mine in Colombia recovered from a labor strike that impacted 2013 production; improvements and expansion projects in Australia, meanwhile, further improved the coal segment of Glencore’s portfolio.
On the other hand, zinc output, another key revenue source, fell 18%, largely owing to end-of-mine closures at the Perseverance and Brunswick mines in Canada in Q2 2013. Nickel production, too, dropped 15% after Australia’s XNA mine and the Dominican Republic’s Falcondo mine underwent 2013 maintenance. The Koniambo nickel mine in New Caledonia Glencore inherited following its merger with Xstrata, meanwhile, underperformed from poor power availability and extended maintenance.