Mining giant Glencore Xstrata said on Tuesday that its copper production rose by 26 percent in 2013 from output the previous year, reaching 1.5 million tonnes. Copper is a key measure of the health of the commodities sector, and the Swiss-based group said that output growth was driven by mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, Peru and Australia. Zinc production fell by nine percent to 1.39 million tonnes owing to the end of mining at sites in Australia and Canada, but that falling trend was set to halt this year thanks to projects in Australia and Africa, the group said. Production of lead also fell by 2.0 percent to 315,000 tonnes, while nickel output dropped by 4.0 percent to 98,400 tonnes. Glencore Xstrata's gold production was robust, however, increasing by 14 percent to just over one million ounces, fuelled by mines in Kazakhstan and Peru. The group is also a major player in the energy sector, and saw coal production increase by 4.0 percent to 138 million tonnes thanks to expanding operations in Colombia and Australia. The group came into being with a mega merger in May 2013 between commodities giant Glencore and mining company Xstrata, both of which were already based in Switzerland. Glencore Xstrata is due to publish its 2013 results on March 4.