Our history


Glencore is one of the largest global diversified natural resource companies in the world. Founded in 1974, through growth and acquisitions we have proudly inherited a strong Canadian footprint and have accumulated a rich mining history in this country that dates back more than 100 years.

Edmund Horne, a businessman and prospector, was the founder of Noranda, a mining and metallurgy company based in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.

The history of our copper business

Our rich mining history in this country began when Noranda Mines was incorporated with the signing of its Letters Patent on May 16, 1922. Edmund Horne, a businessman and prospector, came to northern Ontario at the turn of the century and made his way into Abitibi, Quebec where he discovered the magnificent Horne copper and gold mine, which became Noranda, one of Canada’s most well-known mining companies. 

In 1927, at the original site of Noranda, the Horne Smelter was established. Still in operation to this day, the Horne Smelter is the only copper smelter in Canada and is the largest and most advanced recycling plant of its kind in all of North America.

In 1931, Noranda opened the CCR refinery in Montréal-Est, Quebec, which processes all the copper produced by the Horne Smelter, and provides services to metal producers, mines, copper smelters and other refineries. CCR is the only copper refinery in Canada and has an integrated precious metals refining plant.

The Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited logo.

The history of our nickel business

In 1928, the precursor to our nickel business was established when Thayer Lindsley, often referred to as the greatest mine finder of all time, purchased mining claims containing rich deposits of nickel-copper ore in the area northeast of Sudbury, Ontario. Lindsley incorporated Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited and a company town by the name of Falconbridge was constructed to house and service workers – all named after the township in which the business and people were situated. 

In 1930, Falconbridge expanded its mining site and established the Sudbury Smelter to process material. In 1932, a mill and sintering facility began its operations. Today’s existing Fraser Mine was built in 1963, the Strathcona Mill was built in 1968, and Nickel Rim South Mine was built in 2010. These various components now make up what is known today as our Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (INO).

In the province of Quebec, following the signing of the Raglan Agreement in 1995, the first Impact and Benefit Agreement (IBA) ever signed in Canada between a mining company and an Indigenous group, our nickel business took another profound step forward. This signing paved the way for Raglan Mine to go into production in 1997.

In 2017, capital approvals were granted for Sudbury INO’s Onaping Depth project as well as for Raglan Mine’s Sivumut project. 

These project approvals change the outlook for the future of the nickel business; the Onaping Depth Project, an ultra-deep mine, has the potential to extend the life of the Sudbury operation to 2035. Likewise, Raglan Mine will have extended mine life 20+ years beyond its existing mines.

The history of our zinc and lead business

In 1955, General Smelting of Canada was founded in Lachine, Quebec, as part of our zinc business, and is today one of North America’s most established manufacturers of cast, rolled, extruded, welded and machined lead and tin-based products and alloys.

In 1963, Glencore’s zinc operations expanded as CEZinc Refinery and the Matagami Mine Camp began production in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec and Matagami, Quebec, respectively. Today, Bracemac-McLeod Mine, the 12th mine in the history of the Matagami Mine Camp, continues to operate sending its copper concentrate to the Horne Smelter and its zinc concentrate to CEZinc for refining.

In 1966, our zinc business expanded yet again as Kidd Operations, the world’s deepest base-metal mine below sea level, went into production in Timmins, Ontario. At the same time, the Brunswick Smelter went into production in Belledune, New Brunswick (the smelter closed in 2019).


In 2011 and 2012, two coal projects were acquired: the Suska and Sukunka Projects, both of which are located in north-eastern British Columbia. With an anticipated mine life of 20 years, Sukunka is a proposed mining operation to produce premium steel-making coal that will create significant economic benefits, particularly for the people and First Nations of the area.

Glencore’s consulting business

In 1952, the Falconbridge Metallurgical Laboratory was established and served as the precursor to our Expert Process Solutions (XPS), a licensed metallurgical consulting, technology and test work company that serves the global mining industry.

The story behind our Agriculture business

Beginning in 1906, Grain Growers’ Grain Company, a farmers’ cooperative founded in the prairie provinces of western Canada, was the earliest predecessor to what is now Viterra, a leading marketer and handler of grains, oilseeds and pulses. Viterra’s North American business is headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan, with industry-leading marketing, facilities, logistics, and processing capabilities, including a large global network of marketing offices in more than 30 countries.


We acquired Viterra in 2012. In 2016, we sold a 40% stake in our agriculture business and created a long-term partnership with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, followed by the sale of a further 9.99% stake to British Columbia Investment Management Corp in the same year.

Deeply rooted in Canadian history, we have a strong commitment to Canada and we look forward to being a part of many more historical milestones as time goes on.