Glencore (GLEN:LN), one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of copper, produced 1.26 million tonnes and sold 3.4 million tonnes through its marketing business in 2020. Their copper production is so large that the company is also a major producer of cobalt, a byproduct of copper. Most of their cobalt product comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Start of an Upward Trend
While 2020 was a good year for Glencore (GLEN: LN), 2021 began to set the trend for production increases. On Thursday, the company reported 301,200 tonnes produced in the first quarter of 2021, 3% higher YoY from Q1 2020. While the reopening of production and the lifts of restrictions for miners contributed to this bump, productivity improvements also lent a hand to the increase.
“The group’s overall production was broadly in line with our expectations for the first quarter. Production in Q1 2021 reflects that many of our operations continue to maintain thorough Covid-safe working practices, as appropriate for each specific country and region. Full-year production guidance has been maintained for our key commodities,” according to CEO Ivan Glasenberg.
Glencore’s business is one of the most diversified, comprising more than 60 commodities. The company has operations at approximately 150 mining and metallurgical sites in more than 35 countries. Employing 135,000 employees and contractors, where Glencore goes, significant employment number improvement often follows, and the company holds so much sway in many commodities that it is often responsible for price changes as a direct result of supply and demand.
Copper’s in-demand status continues to increase, and Glencore’s production increase is just a piece of what will be necessary over the coming years to meet the massive demand coming. As one of the largest producers and marketers of copper in the world, Glencore (GLEN: LN) will need to take a lead position in the market and help balance the supply issues facing the industry right now.