Earth movers: the ten biggest mining companies by revenue

Glencore, operating as a diversified energy, company outstrips all competitors as the world’s biggest mining company despite significant profit falls, a trend witnessed by all miners, with only Vale registering a ’marginal’ loss. Mining-technology.com lists the world’s ten biggest mining companies based on 2015 revenues.


Glencore plc - $170.49bn

Glencore plc (Glencore) is a diversified natural resource company that produces and trades over 90 commodities, including metals, minerals and energy and agricultural products. Boasting around 150 mining, metallurgy, agricultural sites and offshore oil production assets, Glencore does business in more than 50 countries and serves the automotive, steel, power generation, oil and food processing industries.

Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Glencore operates through three divisions: Metals and Minerals, Energy Products and Agricultural Products.

The Metals and Minerals unit includes commodities departments for copper, zinc and lead, nickel, ferroalloys, alumina and aluminium and iron ore. It conducts mining, smelting, refining and warehousing operations with ownership interests in controlled and non-controlled industrial assets. The company is one of the largest suppliers of copper and zinc. Some of the company's major producing assets include Kazzinc, an integrated zinc, lead, copper, and gold production facility in Kazakhstan; Mutanda and Katanga, a copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Mopani, a copper and cobalt mine in Zambia; a copper mine in Chile, zinc mines in Bolivia; and copper and gold mines in Argentina and Australia. It produced 1,502.2kt of copper, 1,444.8kt of zinc,964koz of gold in 2015.

The Energy Products division produces and markets coal and oil, while it also invests in strategic handling, storage and freight equipment and facilities. With interests in 30 operating coal mines in Australia, South Africa and Colombia, Glencore produces and exports bituminous thermal coal, premium hard and semi-soft coking coal. Thermal coal is supplied to cement producers, steel mills and chemical plants among other customers. The company, which trades crude oil and refined products, owns interests in three deep-water licences offshore from Equatorial Guinea and two operating fields in Chad in Central Africa. The company produced about 131.5mtof coking, semi-soft and thermal coal in 2015.

The Agricultural Products unit covers commodities like grain, oils/oilseeds, cotton and sugar. Its products include wheat, corn, barley, soybeans, soft seeds, edible oils, meals, cotton and sugar. The company sources raw materials from farmers and processing plants and supplies end products to food, animal feed and consumer industries, local importers and government entities.

Glencore owns controlled and non-controlled facilities for storage, handling and processing in key business locations and is also supported by an extensive silo and export elevator network. In 2015 the company processed about 11.5mt of agricultural products.

"Glencore reported revenue of $170.49bn in 2015."

Financial Performance

Glencore reported revenue of $170.49bn in 2015, a 22.9% decline year-over-year. Its operating loss was at $8.01bn as opposed to an operating income of $4.25bn in the previous year. Its net loss for the year was $4.96bn versus a net profit of $2.31bn in 2014.

Key Competitors

Glencore's key competitors include Coresco AG, MNP Petroleum Corporation, Anglo American, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Aurubis AG, BHP Billiton Limited, Cargill, Dowa Holdings, Noble Group Limited, Rio Tinto, Teck Resources Limited, Trafigura Group and Vale S.A.

Latest Developments

In May 2016 Glencore through its subsidiary Maru Sky acquired an 8.47% interest in Atlas Iron, an iron ore miner based in Australia, for a purchase consideration of $15.8m.

In the same month the company announced plans to sell Vasilkovskoye gold mine in Kazakhstan, valued at around $2bn. Glencore, which owns a 70% stake in the mine, is looking to clear its $26bn debt.

In March 2016 Glencore agreed to sell a 40% stake in Glencore Agricultural Products to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for a cash consideration of around $2.5bn.

In the same month Glencore announced it would invest over $1.1bn in Zambia between 2016 and 2018 to develop Mopani Copper Mines' three copper mine shafts to extend their life by more than 25 years.

In February 2016 Franco-Nevada (Barbados) Corporation (FNB) agreed to acquire a precious metals stream from Glencore-owned Antapaccay mine in Peru in a $500m deal.