Blanchelande, who started her career as a copper trader, has been at Trafigura for more than 13 years, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is the latest in a string of departures from Trafigura’s metals unit, which has been under pressure amid a massive alleged nickel fraud against it and the financial woes of a Congolese copper-cobalt project it backed.
The battery metals unit, which includes lithium, nickel and cobalt has been under particular pressure. Prices of the three metals have tumbled in the past year amid a wave of new supply and destocking in China’s dominant battery industry.
In the past twelve months, senior departures from Trafigura’s metals unit have included Socrates Economou, the head of nickel and cobalt trading; Kostas Bintas, the head of copper and former co-head of metals; Simon Grenfell, the head of metals business development; and Svetlana Kabanova, the head of metals operations. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Mehdi Wetterwald, who was briefly co-head of battery metals, was also leaving.
Still, in its annual report last month, chief executive officer Jeremy Weir described Trafigura’s metals performance as “robust,” and the company noted that the unit’s profits would have been above the previous three-year average without the nickel loss.
A Trafigura spokesperson said: “We are committed to growing our involvement in lithium as part of our battery metal offering.”
(By Jack Farchy and Yvonne Yue Li)
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