Swiss mining company Glencore post higher profits despite fraud probes

Mining giant Glencore posted higher first-half net profit on Wednesday August 8th, shrugging off a number of adverse factors, such as a corruption probe in the United States

Swiss mining company Glencore post higher profits despite fraud probes
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP.

The Switzerland-based company reported net profit of $2.7 billion (2.3 billion euros) in the first six months of 2018, a 13-percent improvement over the same period last year. 

That came despite the announcement from the US justice department last month that it was investigating Glencore's operations in Nigeria, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over possible money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

News of the US probe, which had sent Glencore shares plunging, followed reports that Britain's Serious Fraud Office was also investigating the firm over its operations in DR Congo.  

Meanwhile, Glencore in June had to settle a burgeoning legal dispute with its former partner in DR Congo, Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, who had threatened a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit. 

Glencore was forced to temporarily stop paying royalties to Gertler once he was slapped with US sanctions over allegedly improper payments to DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila.  

The company also had to cancel a share swap with aluminium giant Rusal after the Russian firm was itself slapped with sanctions by Washington.

But despite the headwinds, Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg was able to boast that his firm remained on track for a strong year.

“We remain focused on creating value for shareholders through the disciplined allocation of long-term capital,” he said in a statement. Glencore's stock price ticked down about 0.5 per cent to 324.48 pence in early morning trading on the London exchange. 

READ MORE: Glencore CEO quits Rusal board after US sanctions smash share prices


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.