One by One, Mega Miners Show Why Metals Supply Is So Squeezed – by Thomas Biesheuvel and James Attwood (Bloomberg News – April 28, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc is the latest giant miner to pare back production forecasts, in what’s turning out to be a difficult start to the year for companies digging up some of the world’s most important raw materials.

The trend across the industry is clear — the biggest companies aren’t producing as much as they say they will. Rivals BHP Group, Rio Tinto Group and Anglo American Plc all reported underwhelming production numbers last week and costs are rising sharply across most operations.

The disappointments are a reminder of how hard it is to maintain and grow supply of metals that feed the world’s factories and building sites. New mines require billions of dollars and can take decades before they’re ready to start up, if they get there at all. At existing operations, companies are struggling with everything from Covid-19 absenteeism to extreme weather and basic missteps that hurt productivity and drive up expenses.

The mining industry has been one of the big winners from the post-lockdown economic recovery and the threat of supply disruption from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nearly every major metal and mineral has hit a record in the past 12 months, fueling profit and share price gains across the sector.

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