Glencore forecasts coal production decline in 2020

Coal operation at the Mt Owen mine in New South Wales. Image: Glencore

Glencore’s production of coking and thermal coal has taken a dip in Australia this year.

The company produced 3.7 million tonnes of coking coal during the first half of this year, a 14 per cent fall from the 4.3 million tonnes produced in the prior corresponding period.

This was blamed on the timing of coal extraction at Glencore’s Hail Creek mine in Queensland, which the company expected to make up later this year.

The company’s thermal coal output also plunged by 13 per cent, accounting  both the product heading for export and to domestic consumption.

This was due to maintenance and increased haul distances at some sites.

Glencore has downgraded its coal production forecast from 132 million tonnes to 114 million tonnes as it plans to reduce coal output in Australia for the rest of this year.

The reduced target also accounts for Glencore’s Prodeco mine in Colombia, which will remain on extended care and maintenance.

“The outlook for Prodeco’s business remains challenging due to ongoing weakness in the Atlantic coal market, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19,” Glencore stated in its half-year production report 2020.

“Prodeco is in the process of optimising its mine plans to account for the current market environment.”

Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said although some of the company’s industrial operations were temporarily suspended in line with national and regional guidance, or where its risk assessment determined a suspension was appropriate, the majority of its assets continued to operate relatively normally.

The output of Glencore’s Australian copper operations across Queensland and New South Wales, at 87,200 tonnes, was in line with the first half of last year.

This was replicated in its zinc and lead production, reaching 311,800 tonnes and 108,100 tonnes, respectively.

“Glencore has delivered an overall strong first-half operating performance amid the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, reflecting both the ability and dedication of our teams to adapt to these difficult conditions,” Glasenberg said.

“…In the near-term, we remain alert to the continuing challenges that COVID-19 presents,” Glasenberg said.

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