The world’s top 10 highest-grade copper mines – by Vladimir Basov (Mining.com – February 20, 2017)

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“Grade is king”. This is very true, especially in today’s challenging mineral commodities market conditions. The grade of metal in ore is usually directly related to the ability of a particular mine to make money and be profitable.

All things being equal, a higher grade generally means lower production costs per ounce/pound/ton, making high-grade ore deposits a crucial consideration for mining investors. Mines that can provide good returns in any market environment are “the best of breed”. While the copper market is gaining momentum, it is a good time to look at the copper mining champions in terms of copper grade in ore reserves.

Why have only reserves been taken into account? This is because a mineral reserve is the part of the mineral resource that has demonstrated economic viability in current market conditions. Therefore, ore reserves are much less speculative than ore resources and relatively precisely reflect changes in the economic “wellbeing” of mines.

The following analysis covers those currently active copper mining operations throughout the world that are separate reporting units and which have most recent reserves figures, calculated according to international standards and disclosed by the owners/operators after December 31, 2014.

For a more accurate comparison, copper operations have been split into underground and open-pit, since these mining methods utilize different techniques and equipment. In this research, the focus is on ore grade in reserves while putting aside other crucial parameters like ore tonnage and volume of metal contained in ore.

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