Glencore/Xstrata copper
mining operations in
the DRC.
Baar, Switzerland — 14 May 2013 – Glencore Xstrata plc, the biggest exporter of coal for power stations, says its first-quarter copper production has risen 18% as a result of gains at its mines in Africa.

Output was 321,800tpa, Glencore revealed in a statement quoted by Bloomberg News, compared with 273,200tpa earlier. African production jumped 44%, it added. The figures include operations acquired from Xstrata plc.

Glencore completed a 15-month long takeover of Xstrata this month to create the fourth-largest mining company in the world with a market value of US$70 billion. The combined group has interests in about 35 coal mines in Colombia, Africa and Australia, accounting for about 10% of global seaborne supplies of the fuel.

Coal output grew 1% to 32.7Mt, the company said. Prices for the fuel exported from Australia, its largest coal producing region, were 23% lower, it added.

“Despite a poor quarter for thermal coal, the company produced a relatively solid quarter for copper, zinc and other operations,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Tony Robson said in a note. Coal output was 9% less than BMO forecast.

Glencore Xstrata has halted work on the Balaclava Island export terminal in Australia’s Queensland state because of poor market conditions and over-capacity, it said earlier in an e-mailed statement. The facility had planned export capacity of 35Mtpa, according to the company’s website.

The stock advanced 0.4 percent to close at 345.3 pence in London trading. The shares are down 1.7% this year.

Zinc output was little changed at 386,900t, lead rose 10% to 80,000t and nickel was up 4% to 25,500t.

Spending on new projects is estimated at US$29 billion in the next three years, Glencore said this month. After 2015, spending was set to “materially decline” to US$4 billion to US$5 billion. Expanding the Katanga and Mutanda copper mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo was on schedule for completion this year. The group employs about 190,000 people in more than 50 countries across its industrial and trading divisions.

Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.