South Africa – Glencore, one of the world’s largest global diversified natural resource companies, has reported an increase in ferrochrome production for the March 2015 quarter. The company’s ferrochrome production increased 15% to 385 000 t, from 335 000 t in the comparable period in 2014, which was driven by the Lion 2 expansion project, in Limpopo.
Glencore also recorded an increase in production from its South African thermal coal mines which increased to 11.4 Mt, up 10%.
This increase was owing to the ramp ups of the newly commissioned Tweefontein Optimisation and Wonderfontein projects, a strong performance at Tweefontein underground, improved yields at a number of operations, and the absence of a number of restrictions that impacted production in the first quarter of 2014.
The performance of the South African mines contributed to an overall increase in Glencore’s own sourced coal production, which increased to 35.6 Mt during the quarter.
This is 4% higher than the comparable period, as a result of higher production from its South African thermal coal mines.
Despite this increase, Glencore announced potential production cuts in South Africa, at Optimum Coal.
In January 2015, Optimum Coal announcement that it was considering closing its opencast mining operations and associated processing facilities, which would reduce its overall annual saleable production by at least 5 Mt. While this decision did not impact production during the period under review, it is expected to impact on production later in 2015.
Meanwhile, Glencore’s African copper produced 110 700 t of copper in the March quarter, 4% higher than the comparable period, reflecting a ramp-up in production at Mutanda, (up 4 500 t, or 10%) and Katanga (up 5 500 t or 17 %), both in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This was however offset by lower production at Mopani, in Zambia, due to temporary stope restrictions that reduced ore mined and grades, following a minor geotechnical event at Mufulira underground at the end of 2014.
First quarter copper production was however 8% lower than the fourth quarter 2014 due to the challenges at Mopani and a 13% reduction at Katanga due to wet weather related mining restrictions and resulting impact on processing due to the variability of grades milled.