Glencore feels pain of Africa risk, cobalt price fall – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – July 31, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Glencore said on Wednesday it faced a $350 million hit after cobalt prices halved and has begun an overhaul of its under-performing Africa business, which it will explain next week with output revisions in Democratic Republic of Congo.

First-half copper production was 5% lower than last year, while cobalt output rose 28%. Zinc and coal output rose 8% and 10% respectively and nickel dropped 11% versus the same time last year because of maintenance.

London-listed Glencore’s exposure to risk in Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia has weighed on the company’s share price, which has fallen while those of its diversified mining peers have risen.

In a statement, CEO Ivan Glasenberg said Glencore was addressing the challenges at its Katanga Mining unit in Congo with management changes and an operational review while in Zambia it was near the end of multi-year improvements.

The Zambian government’s move to seize assets of fellow miner Vedanta have alarmed the industry, while in Democratic Republic of Congo, Glencore has faced a series of problems, including the death of artisanal miners who invaded its concession.

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