Glencore targeting recycling step change

6th December 2021

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( – The goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change are best achieved through the circular economy, says diversified mining and marketing company Glencore, which sees recycling as being a significant means for relieving the growing burden that global decarbonisation is set to place on finite raw materials.

The London- and Johannesburg-listed company, headed by CEO Gary Nagle, views narrowing the gap between global resource use and recycling as being essential to minimise climate impacts on the world. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

Glencore, which has recycled more than a million tonnes of electronic scrap since the 1990s, has smelting and refining assets that allow a wide range of recyclable materials to be processed, especially end-of-life electronics, batteries and battery metals.

The company stated during its 2021 investor update, covered by Mining Weekly, that it is targeting a step-change in its recycling capabilities over the next five years through a larger global capacity in its core and new markets.

The company mentioned its help with the launch of the Circular Electronics Partnership and its work with the industry and governments to improve circularity in electronics and batteries.

New technologies to recycle more complex materials in a safe and sustainable manner are also being tested.

“We aim to be a leader in the circular economy and will leverage our marketing business to help our customers decarbonise their supply chains,” the company stated on a slide.

In addition, the vast majority of Glencore’s capital expenditure is allocated to metals that enable the transition to a greener world. Copper features the most prominently by far in the company’s growth pipeline that includes cobalt, nickel and zinc.


As a vertically integrated producer of metals, consumption of electricity by its smelting assets is a key decarbonisation focus, with a shift to renewable energy in grids where viable and the investigation of best options for on-site renewables for off-grid assets.

The carbon reductants drive the largest Scope 1 footprint, though the downstream processing into final metal products are harder to abate and require new processing technologies such as hydrogen.

As diesel is also a large contributor to Scope 1 emissions, the company will assess fleet electrification opportunities at assets connected to grids with renewable energy, supplemented by battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell fleet as they become commercially available, expected towards the end of this decade

“The responsible decline of our coal assets will also materially reduce diesel and fugitive emissions,” Glencore stated.

Glencore’s business case includes these aspects:

  • commodity solutions that support the journey to net zero through production, recycling, sourcing, marketing and distribution.
  • an asset portfolio focused on larger, longer-life operations.
  • a marketing business that includes a carbon and power strategy that provides carbon solutions within the commodity supply chain.
  • commodity and geographic diversity of production, marketing and recycling, all of which provide resilience and cash generation.

Marketing’s carbon strategy is expected to create additional value over time as demand for carbon solutions in the commodity supply chain evolves.

Revealed during 2021 Investor Update and media conference were Glencore’s involvement in:

  • reducing Scope 3 emissions by prioritising investment in green metals and decisively reducing its coal production over time.
  • producing, recycling, sourcing, marketing and distributing commodities needed by its customers to decarbonise, while simultaneously reducing its own Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
  • embracing a just transition away from coal and planning renewables for its ferrochrome production in South Africa.
  • recycling end-of-life electronics, batteries and battery metals in current and new markets.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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