Glencore has no update for North West Minerals Province zinc assets

GLENCORE ASSET: An aerial shot of the George Fisher Mine in Mount Isa. Photo: Derek Barry.
GLENCORE ASSET: An aerial shot of the George Fisher Mine in Mount Isa. Photo: Derek Barry.

THE value of zinc has nearly doubled on the London Metals Exchange since Glencore scaled down operations in the North West Minerals Province two years ago. 

The zinc price peaked at US $3369.5 a tonne on October 4. During the same week Glencore announced it will invest a further $530 million into Peruvian zinc mining giant Volcan.

Several publications have since highlighted Glencore’s dominance in a market when the world’s inventory of zinc had reduced. Two sources in the North West Minerals Province have ensured The North West Star is aware of these positive prices by sharing these articles with the publication. 

Yet despite a continuous improvement in the market there have been no announcements to reopen the Lady Loretta zinc mine 140 kilometres north west of Mount Isa – or to increase the production at George Fisher Mine. 

A Glencore spokeswoman said “we don’t have anything further to add at this stage” when asked about future plans to increase zinc production in the North West Minerals Province. 

The spokeswoman said that chief operating officer of Glencore’s zinc assets, Greg Ashe, shared the most up-to-date information at the company’s community information session in August. 

Mr Ashe highlighted the increased value in zinc but said the market remained “volatile”. 

“We have seen a positive uptick in commodity prices which is a good thing, but the volatility is still there. 

“18 months ago (zinc) was at a five year low, today we’re at a 10 year high,” Mr Ashe said. 

“We would like to see more clarity and certainty in stability in the market.”

Copper prices have also improved. On October 9 the value was US $6603 a tonne but had dropped from the peak US $6903 a tonne four days earlier. 

In October 2015 the copper price had been US $4310 a tonne. The price rose sharply in October last year. 

The value in lead has also increased in two years. At the start of October, 2015, the market value was US $1661 a tonne.  As of October 9 a tonne of lead was $2514.