Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Two dead and five missing after wall collapse at Glencore Katanga mine in DRC

Two dead and five missing after wall collapse at Glencore Katanga mine in DRC

08/03/2015

  
Two workers have died and five are missing after a wall collapsed at a copper mine owned by a Glencore subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
The FTSE 100 miner said search and rescue efforts had begun after a “geotechnical failure” led to the collapse of the north wall at the open pit KOV mine run by Katanga Mining.
The families of the missing workers are in the process of being contacted and will be offered full support, Glencore said.

Two emergency support centres have been set up at the scene and a third support centre for relatives has been established at nearby Kolwezi town. 

Katanga is 75pc owned by Glencore, which suspended operations at the mine in September.

The seven workers were believed to be undertaking maintenance work when the accident happened.

An “unknown amount of damage” to the dewatering infrastructure in the pit also occurred, Glencore added.
 
 
Katanga Mining employs 4,000 people. Copper production was suspended there last year after the fall in the price of metal made its output unprofitable. Glencore said it would take more than 400,000 tonnes of copper out of global supply in a bid to shore up prices.

Copper, which is prized for its electrical and thermal conductivity, has enjoyed a rally since the start of the year, with prices up 6.27pc in 2016.

The accident at Katanga occurred on the same day as Glencore published its annual report, in which it warned that further falls in commodity prices were the “foremost risk” to the company. Last month, it reported a $4.9bn loss for 2015.

However, Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive, told investors: “Our diversified asset portfolio, based around a core of tier one assets, combined with our highly resilient marketing business, underpins Glencore’s ability to continue to be comfortably cash generative, despite the current environment for commodities.”

                          Ivan Glasenberg owns 8.4pc of Glencore
 
The report revealed Mr Glasenberg was paid a total of $1.51m (£1.06m) last year in pay and pension contributions, fractionally below the prior year. The chief executive does not take bonuses or long-term incentives, and, since 2011, he has waived the entitlement to any increase in salary. However the South African would have taken a hit on his 8.4pc holding in the company, as Glencore’s shares tumbled by 68pc during the year.
 
The company’s share price has recovered in 2016 amid a general improvement in the mining sector, and is up 88pc in the year to date. Shares were down 8pc by lunchtime on Tuesday, however, as mining stocks were hit by disappointing import and export data from China, the world’s largest consumer of raw materials.