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Glencore first-quarter copper output falls 9%

Gianluca Colla | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Miner and commodity trader Glencore on Tuesday reported a 9 percent fall in first-quarter copper production mostly due to lower copper grades at its Alumbrera and Antamina mines in South America and maintenance at the Collahuasi mine.

Glencore, unlike its main rivals in the mining industry, has a bigger exposure to base metals rather than iron ore. The company also has a large commodity trading division, in addition to its mining and oil assets.

Output of copper, the largest earner for the Swiss-based company, was 350,700 tonnes in the first quarter, below most analysts forecasts.

In nickel, the company reported a 7 percent increase to 23,800 tonnes, thanks to a higher contribution from Koniambo, a nickel project the company inherited from its takeover of Xstrata in 2013, which has been affected by various operational issues.

Coal production rose 4 percent in the first quarter to 35.6 million tonnes, mainly thanks to the commissioning of two new thermal coal projects in South Africa. An announced potential output cut at Glencore's Optimum coal operation in South Africa is expected to have an impact later in 2015, the company said.

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