Steady Q3 for Glencore as Katanga ramps up, but coal guidance cut as Cerrejon strike continues

Katanga Mining

GLENCORE cut coal production guidance for its 2020 financial year 5.7% to 109 million tons (Mt) amid a strike at its Colombian joint venture, Cerrjeon mine, which entered its 60th day on Friday, said Reuters.

Cerrejon, in which Anglo American and BHP have equal shares with Glencore, said on Wednesday that “significant advances” had been made in negotiations with its largest union. Glencore’s year-to-date coal production was put at 83.5Mt, which is a fifth lower year-on-year.

Despite these troubles, Glencore maintained its 2020 guidance for all its other products.

Copper production was 934,700 tons year-to-date, 8% lower than a year earlier, while cobalt production of 21,600 tons was down 37%, due to the shuttering of its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining’s Kamoto Copper mine in the DRC is ramping up to full production, and should produce 270,000 tons of copper as cathode this year, said Reuters citing comments last month by head of Glencore Africa copper, Mark Davis.

“Glencore has delivered a solid third-quarter operating performance, including the continued successful ramp-up of Katanga, which remains on track to achieve design capacity by year-end,” CEO, Ivan Glasenberg said.

From a South African perspective, attributable ferrochrome production of 651,000 tons was 379,000 tons or 37% lower reflecting Covid-19 lockdown measures.

“As of 1 September, four of the five smelters were running,” said Glencore, adding that the competitive environment across the South African ferrochrome industry “… continues to be challenging, … due to high input costs, including electricity”.

The company is scheduled to provide an investor update on December 4 at which it may raise its 15-year Scope 3 carbon emissions reduction target.