Glencore Chief Executive Gary Nagle made his name running the commodity giant’s sprawling coal operations. Now he’s leading an effort to get the company out of coal altogether.
Glencore this past Tuesday agreed to a multibillion-dollar deal that will eventually rid it of its coal mines, a move that represents the company’s biggest strategic shift in years. That leaves it to focus on bolstering its position as a major supplier of the metals needed for electric-vehicle batteries and other green technologies.
“We have some of the best future-facing metals in the world,” Nagle said this past week, referring to Glencore’s nickel, copper, cobalt and zinc assets. “This will be the go-to metals transition company in the world.” The challenge for Nagle is to pull off a smooth exit from coal, which has long been a key pillar of the company and generated more than half of Glencore’s adjusted profit last year.
Under the plan set in motion Tuesday, Glencore will first pay $6.93 billion for a 77% stake in Canadian miner Teck Resources’ coal business. The deal will marry Teck’s assets in metallurgical coal, the kind used in steelmaking, and Glencore’s business in mostly thermal coal, which is burned to generate electricity.
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