The resurgence in nickel and copper prices to their highest levels in years has become the latest boon for Australia’s resources sector, boosting profit margins for miners and prompting others to consider dusting off old mines and forgotten exploration projects.
Nickel, which has for so long had been the exception to the broader post-downturn recovery in metals prices, this week touched its highest level in two years while the copper price has climbed to heights not seen since 2014.
The price of both metals has been helped along by a combination of a weaker US dollar, supply outages and healthy demand, as well as longer-term expectations of a substantial boost in demand from the rapidly expanding electric vehicles market.
The broader base metals space is enjoying a run unseen since the early days of the great China-led mining boom. The basket of six London Metals Exchange-traded metals has now risen for the past eight weeks, just shy of the record nine-week run witnessed back in 2006.
The copper price surge is further good news for mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto, both of whom have copper at their core, as well as pure-play copper producers OZ Minerals and Sandfire Resources.