Glencore’s copper and cobalt bolstered after restart of operations at mine

Mining giant Glencore backed its 2019 guidance after core copper and cobalt production was bolstered by the restart of operations at its Katanga mine.

The Anglo-Swiss company said copper production increased 11% to 1.45 million tones and cobalt output surged 54% to 14,800 tonnes thanks to the Katanga mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo resuming processing operations in late 2017.

However, copper sales during last year were lower than production, which the company blamed on the timing of shipments.

Glencore said that it is temporarily stockpiling cobalt at the Katanga mine until it finds a long-term solution to remove excess uranium levels in cobalt.

Nickel production last year increased 13% to 123,800 tonnes and coal output rose 7% to 8.8 million tonnes.

Zinc and ferrochrome production were both in line with the year earlier at 1.07 million tones and 1.58 million tonnes, respectively.

Oil production declined 8% to 4.6 million barrels, which the company said was due to a natural decline at its oil fields in Equatorial Guinea, which was partly offset by an 11% increase in production from its operations in Chad after drilling activity resumed.

The company backed its production guidance for 2019 of copper output of 1.54 million tonnes and 57,000 tonnes for cobalt.