"A lot of the automobile guys and the battery guys are talking to us about nickel," Glasenberg said, speaking during the Financial Times Mining Summit. Glencore this year signed an agreement with Tesla to supply it with cobalt from the Congo.
Glencore produced 121,000 tonnes of nickel in 2019 and sold 181,000 tonnes through its marketing business. Glencore owns nickel mines in Australia, Canada and New Caledonia and a nickel refinery in Norway.
The miner already supplies German carmaker BMW with cobalt metal from its Murrin Murrin nickel-cobalt mine in Australia.
Glasenberg also said Glencore is running down its coal mines and won't replace them, as part of its efforts to cut "Scope 3" emissions - indirect emissions which mining companies are under increasing pressure to address.
Glasenberg said Glencore's Scope 1 and 2 emissions together represent just 10% of its Scope 3 emissions - an indication of how important these indirect emissions are, particularly for miners of thermal coal which is then burned to generate electricity.
Glencore has committed to a 30% reduction in Scope 3 emissions by 2035.
Glasenberg said the company will make an announcement on its Scope 3 emissions on Dec. 4. "We are looking at how the market looks. We are reviewing all our coal operations," he said.
He said his focus was on running down existing coal mines, rather than spinning them off. "I don't see how spinning off coal mines will help us reduce Scope 3 emissions," Glasenberg told the summit.
Anglo American is planning to spin off its South African coal operations.
(Reporting by Helen Reid and Tanisha Heiberg; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
By Helen Reid and Tanisha Heiberg