Canadian Mining Journal


COPPER: Glencore expects higher copper production in 2019

SWITZERLAND – Commodities giant Glencore has reported production figures for 2018 and confirmed 2019 guidance that implies a 14%-year-over-year increase in copper equivalent production.

Copper production reached 1.45 million tonnes in 2018, 11% higher than 2017, and Glencore expects that number to jump by about 45% this year to 1.54 million tonnes.

Cobalt production came in at 42,200 tonnes last year, 54% higher than in 2017, and Glencore anticipates production will jump to 57,000 tonnes this year, up 5% over 2018.

The dramatic rise in 2018 cobalt production was due mainly to its Katanga mine. However, current cobalt production from Katanga is being stockpiled temporarily until the company can work out a solution to removing excess uranium levels from its cobalt supply.

Edward Sterk of BMO Capital Markets said in a commentary that the company’s “disagreement” with regulators in the Democratic Republic of Congo “means that sales might be further postponed to 2020.”

“Katanga announced that the regulator is disputing its plan to remove uranium from the cobalt stream, with the ion exchange circuit previously expected to be commissioned in 4Q 2019. We expect no change to 2019 production, but continued stockpiling could delay sales forecasts.”

Zinc production reached 1.07 million tonnes in 2018, which was in line with 2017. Glencore forecasts zinc production growth of 30% this year to 1.20 million tonnes.

Nickel production hit 123,800 tonnes in 2018, up 13% over 2017, and should rise by 5% in 2019 to 138,000 tonnes., the company says.

Attributable ferrochrome production of 1.58 million tonnes in 2018 was in line with 2017 levels, and Glencore forecasts production this year will grow to 1.69 million tonnes, up 30% year-over-year.

Attributable coal production last year reached 129.4 million tonnes, up 7% over 2017, and Glencore believes 2019 production should rise by 3% year-over-year to 145 million tonnes.

Realized prices in 2018 for copper averaged US$5,950 per tonne, zinc US$2,836 per tonne, and nickel US$12,875 per tonne.

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