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Mining giant Glencore reported a slump in production of coal and many of its key metals last year as the pandemic continued to restrict output across its operations.

Coal output slid three per cent on 2020 levels while copper dipped five per cent and silver four per cent. Lead output also took a hit, falling 14 per cent on the previous year.

Only cobalt and ferrochrome saw an uptick, rising 14 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.

The copper slump came as production fell at its key Ernest Henry copper mine, which the firm said produced 44,700 tonnes in 2021 and accounted for much of the reduced output. Glencore sold off the mine last month for £424.0m.

But bosses doubled  down on the 2022 production guidance provided to investors in December.

Glencore Chief Executive Officer, Gary Nagle, said: “The operating environment remained challenging in 2021, with the Covid-19 pandemic again dominating the daily lives of many of our colleagues, families, local communities and society at large. 

“As a responsible operator, our top priority is to protect the safety and health of our people and the communities that host our businesses. 

Maintaining production in 2021 became increasingly important as many of our products, so crucial for decarbonisation, energy supply and industrial output, saw higher levels of demand.

“Overall, our operations largely performed in line with guidance expectations.”

The firm said its completed acquisition of the Cerrejon mine in Colombia as well as the disposal of  Ernest Henry last month would allow it  to simplify its operations and “align its portfolio with the materials needed for the energy transition and the responsible decline of our coal business.”