Commodities trader Glencore is evaluating the sustainability of lead operations at its Portovesme plant in Italy, reported Reuters citing an industry source privy to the matter. 

The move follows soaring power prices in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In this regard, the company is exploring other potential uses of the lead plant such as recycling batteries from electric vehicles, the source stated.

According to the source, Glencore also postponed plans to take up maintenance works at the plant.

As per the company’s latest production report, it registered a combined production of 159,000t of lead at three different plants in the first half of this year.

The report, however, did not disclose the output for each operation.

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This year, the lead operations reportedly earned income from customers linked to annual contracts, which is ‘uncertain for next year’.

Rising power prices across Europe have seen several firms close their energy-intensive aluminium and zinc smelters.

In November 2021, Glencore put its zinc sulphide operations at the Portovesme plant in maintenance mode.

However, the company proceeded with zinc recycling and lead operations.

Due to reduced power requirements, the zinc recycling operations do not face the threat of closure, said the source.

The source added that the measures initiated by the Italian Government to decrease the impact of high power prices on companies have not yielded desired results.

Earlier this year, Glencore reached aluminium offtake and alumina supply agreements with Malaysia’s Press Metal Bintulu.