Glencore in talks with carmakers regarding nickel, will run down coal assets

Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said on Friday that the company is in talks with carmakers and battery makers about potential nickel supply and confirmed that the commodities giant will run down its coal assets and not replace them.

Nickel is set to take on greater strategic importance in the make-up of electric vehicle batteries after Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked miners to increase production of the metal.

“A lot of the automobile guys and the battery guys are talking to us about nickel,” Glasenberg said at the Financial Times Mining Summit last week.

Glencore owns nickel mines in Australia, Canada and New Caledonia and a nickel refinery in Norway. The Swiss-headquartered company produced 121,000 tonnes of nickel in 2019 and sold 181,000 tonnes through its marketing business.

Earlier this year, Glencore signed an agreement with Tesla to supply the electric vehicle maker with cobalt from the DRC, and the miner already supplies BMW with cobalt from a nickel-cobalt mine in Australia.

Glencore will also seek to run down its coal mines and not replace them amid growing shareholder pressure to reduce its indirect ‘Scope 3’ emissions. Glasenberg said the company will make an announcement on its Scope 3 emissions in December.

“We are looking at how the market looks. We are reviewing all our coal operations.” He added that the focus is on running down existing coal mines, rather than divesting. “I don’t see how spinning off coal mines will help us reduce Scope 3 emissions,” he told the summit.