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MINING

Glencore in black despite low commodity prices

Swiss mining and commodities giant Glencore was back in the black in 2014, posting a $2.3 billion net profit, but took a $1.1 billion impairment charge on dwindling commodity prices, it said on Tuesday.

Glencore in black despite low commodity prices
Photo: AFP

The healthy profit comes after the Swiss company suffered an $8 billion loss a year earlier.
   
However, taking into account the group's absorption of another Swiss mining giant Xstrata, the company saw its results on a comparable pro forma basis slip seven percent from the year before.
   
The merger with Xstrata and integration of Canadian company Viterra meanwhile helped boost Glencore's trade, and the company said its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, swelled 18 percent to $2.8 billion.
   
But Glencore, headquartered in Baar in the canton of Zug, took a $1.1 billion impairment charge amid plunging commodity prices, especially in the energy sector.

The company warned last month that because of "volatile" market conditions, it aimed to slash its spending this year to $6.5-6.8 billion, down from the $7.9 billion announced to investors in early December.
   
Glencore, which has a heavy footprint in copper, coal and oil, as well as in the agriculture commodities sectors, also said it aimed to reduce its coal mine activities in South Africa and in Australia.
   
"Our ultimate goal remains to grow our free cash flow and return excess capital in the most sustainable and efficient manner," Glencore chief
executive Ivan Glasenberg said in the earnings statement.
   
"As the most diversified raw material producer and marketer, Glencore is well positioned to react to and benefit from changes in commodity
fundamentals," he added.
   
The company's board aims to propose hiking the dividend paid to shareholders by nine percent to 18 cents a share, the company said.

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GLENCORE

At least 19 illegal miners killed at subsidiary of Swiss-based Glencore

At least 19 illegal miners were killed on Thursday after part of a copper mine collapsed in southeastern DR Congo, Swiss-based mining giant Glencore said.

At least 19 illegal miners killed at subsidiary of Swiss-based Glencore
Photo: AFP

The incident happened when two galleries caved in at a mine in the Kolwezi area operated by Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a subsidiary of Glencore.

“Tragically there were 19 fatalities today, with possible further unconfirmed fatalities,” Glencore said in a statement, which said there had been recurrent problems with illicit mining on its concessions.

Other reports suggest the death toll could be higher. 

The Congolese site Actualite.CD reported at least 36 deaths.

“The illegal artisanal miners were working two galleries in benches overlooking the extraction area. Two of these galleries caved in,” the company said.

Glencore said KCC had observed a “growing presence” of illegal miners, with on average 2,000 people a day intruding on its operating sites.

“KCC urges all illegal miners to cease from putting their lives at risk by trespassing on a major industrial site,” Glencore said.

Illegal mining is common and frequently deadly in Democratic Republic of Congo, where safety is often poor and risk-taking high.

Figures indicating the scale of the problem are sketchy, given that many mines are illegal and remote.

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