Times tough for miners all over – by Reuters/Star Staff (Sudbury Star – September 22, 2015)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Europe’s No. 2 copper producer Poland’s KGHM said on Monday it would put its McCreedy West copper mine in Sudbury on care and maintenance, the latest victim of sinking prices as worries about demand from China fuel the biggest market rout in years.

Copper prices plunged to six-year lows below $5,000 a tonne last month. They have since recovered to just under $5,300 a tonne, but that’s still about 18 per cent below the 2015 peak.

Also feeding the downward spiral were expectations of a small surplus this year and a larger one in 2016.

Major miners have up until recently mostly refrained from cutting production, but prices have now fallen to levels where some operations are no longer economically viable.

Mining giants Glencore and Freeport have waved the white flag and announced plans to suspend some of their copper production.

The following are some recent announcements:

n KGHM will suspend operations at its underground McCreedy West mine as part of a cost-cutting plan.

In 2013, it produced 20,000 tonnes of copper and 1.7 million tonnes of nickel, according to KGHM’s website.

“After examining a number of options for the Morrison and McCreedy Mines, it became apparent that we had to make some modifications,” said Steve Holmes, Chief Operating Officer at KGHM International, in a statement.

“This decision, while difficult, is necessary given the economic climate. Additional productivity improvements and cost reductions are ongoing, and we will continue to review the performance of all of KGHMI’s operations as we position ourselves for success.”

It will also cut 48 jobs out of a total workforce of 360 at McCreedy West and Morrison by the end of this month.

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