Archive | Copper

Vale in it for the long haul, says COO: Ricus Grimbeek talks future of nickel mining – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – January 11, 2019)

The mining industry is rapidly moving toward digital technology, and Sudbury could be at the heart of it with careful planning, said Vale’s Ricus Grimbeek. The chief operating officer for Canada, the U.K, and Asian refineries was the guest speaker at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce President’s Luncheon Series on Jan. 10 at the Radisson hotel.

His message was clear: Vale has a decades-long plan to stay in the region, as well as help the city become the global hub of digital mining as it transforms the industry.

“I was talking to somebody and they said they thought there was maybe five good years of mining left here, and asked what I thought and I said, no,” he said. “They asked if it was less or more.” For Vale, he said the mining company is looking at at least 20 to 30 more years of production in the basin alone. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Indonesia forecasts drop in Grasberg copper concentrate exports in 2019 – by Bernadette Christina Munthe (Reuters U.S. – January 9, 2019)

JAKARTA, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Copper concentrate exports from Indonesia’s Grasberg mine, the world’s second-largest copper mine, are forecast to plunge this year because of a lag in output as operations move from open pit to underground mining, a government official said on Wednesday.

In 2019, copper concentrate exports are expected to drop to 200,000 tonnes from about 1.2 million tonnes last year, said Yunus Saefulhak, the director of minerals at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.

Grasberg’s operator, U.S. miner Freeport McMoRan Inc , has documented the output decline, which is the result of the switch from the depleting open pit mine early this year but before a massive expansion of a coexisting underground mine ramps up to full production. Continue Reading →

Chile’s Collahuasi plans resource sharing with Canada’s Teck Resources – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters Canada – January 9, 2019)

(Reuters) – Chile’s Collahuasi copper mine is talking to Canada’s Teck Resources Ltd (TECKb.TO) about resource-sharing as the two companies embark on ambitious expansion projects, its Chief Executive Jorge Gomez said on Wednesday.

Collahuasi – owned by Glencore (GLEN.L) and Anglo American (AAL.L) – is seeking “synergies” with companies with operations close to its own mine in the Tarapaca area on the border with Bolivia, Gomez said, principal among them Teck.

These include sharing pipe and power lines and maritime facilities, as well as potentially sharing desalinated water in an area where water shortages are increasingly becoming an issue, he added. Continue Reading →

Africa, South America to drive copper mine capacity growth up to 2021 – ICSG – by Marleny Arnoldi ( – January 7, 2019)

The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) expects copper mine capacity to grow at an average rate of 2.2% a year up to 2021.

The ICSG notes in its biannual ‘Directory of Copper Mines and Plants’ that the average is derived from the lower growth of about 0.5% seen in 2018/19 as compared to growth of 4% expected in 2020/21 when more projects and expansions come on stream. Concentrates represent around 85% of the total growth in world mine copper capacity until 2021.

The ICSG anticipates 31% of world copper mine capacity growth to 2021 to come from ramp-up and expansions of existing operating mines, 56% from mines that are currently under development and 13% from projects that are currently under feasibility study. Continue Reading →

Imperial Metals suspends operations at Mount Polley mine because of declining copper prices (Canadian Press – January 7, 2019)

Imperial Metals Corp. says it is suspending operations at its Mount Polley mine in south-central British Columbia due to declining copper prices.

The gold and copper mine was the site of a 2014 tailings dam collapse that was one of the largest environmental disasters in the province’s history. Imperial Metals said in a news release Monday that the suspension plan includes milling of low grade stockpiles which is expected to extend operations to the end of May 2019.

There will be no impact to the mine’s ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation program, it said. “Full operations will resume once the economics of mining at Mount Polley improve,” it said.The company did not immediately respond to a request for more details, including how many jobs would be affected by the suspension of operations at the mine northeast of Williams Lake, B.C. Continue Reading →

Deep in a Panama Rainforest, First Quantum Bondholders Spy Prize – by Paula Sambo and Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – January 8, 2019)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is poised to fire up a giant copper project in Panama, thousands of miles from its beleaguered mines in Zambia. For bondholders, that’s a welcome distance.

The Canadian copper company is ramping up production at the Cobre Panama plant this year, even as a mining tax hike forces it to shed jobs and cut production at its Zambian facilities. With Panama slated to become a more prominent place of operations, bondholders should benefit as Panama’s stronger credit rating feeds into the debt’s prices, First Quantum President Clive Newall said in an interview.

Where First Quantum does significant business matters to bondholders who closely follow risks associated with lending to companies operating in that particular country. Panama has an investment-grade rating, while Zambia is ranked more deeply into junk. Continue Reading →

Ecuador’s rising opposition to mining may thwart exploration boom – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – January 6, 2019)

Ecuador, one of the hottest destinations for copper prospectors, aims to more than double the value of mining to its economy by 2021, but projects risks delays and potential halts due to growing local opposition to the extraction of the country’s resources.

According to the latest report by Fitch Solutions Macro Research, the ongoing expansion of mining exploration in the South American country is raising the risk of tensions between companies and the local population.

In two landmark cases last year, Ecuadorian courts sided with rural and indigenous communities who argued the national government had failed to inform them it was setting aside parts of their territories for mineral exploitation. That, Fitch Solutions notes, is a right protected by the 2008 Constitution. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, Mongolia sign power deal for Oyu Tolgoi copper mine – by Barbara Lewis and Munkhchimeg Davaasharav (Reuters U.S. – December 31, 2018)

LONDON/ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Rio Tinto and Mongolia have signed a deal for the supply of power to the miner’s giant copper mine extension at Oyu Tolgoi by mid-2023, with both sides saying the framework agreement marked a step forward after a protracted dispute.

The Oyu Tolgoi project is central to Rio Tinto’s push to diversify its portfolio away from iron ore, but it has faced a series of challenges as Mongolia’s fragile government wrangles over how to maximize benefits for the country.

First production at the $5.3 billion underground expansion located near the southern border with China is scheduled for early next decade, creating one of the world’s biggest copper suppliers. Continue Reading →

Why Southern Arizona needs the Rosemont Mine – by Rick Grinnell and Bill Assenmacher (Arizona Daily Star – January 6, 2019)

Bill Assenmacher is president and Rick Grinnell is vice president of the Southern Arizona Business Coalition, a pro-mining organization.

We are writing in response to the Dec. 9 guest opinion column, “Rosemont mine would bring devastation to Southern Arizona” by Tohono O’odham Chairman Edward D. Manuel and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias.

We are with the Southern Arizona Business Coalition (SABC), which was formed to support the responsible development of new, expanding and relocating industries with an emphasis on mining and related technology here in Southern Arizona and around the state.

The headline begins with a very unfitting and disingenuous representation of the Rosemont Copper project being developed by Hudbay Minerals. There is no sound scientific evidence being presented by the authors to support their inflammatory rhetoric. Continue Reading →

Rosemont mine would bring devastation to Southern Arizona – by Edward Manuel and Richard Elías Special (Arizona Daily Star – January 4, 2019)

Edward Manuel is chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Richard Elías is chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

The moment of decision for the Rosemont Mine, with its mile-wide pit, toxic waste, roads, and processing facilities — and together with it, the fate of our cherished Santa Rita Mountains — is coming ever closer.

Despite the destruction of the natural and cultural resources they are entrusted to protect, two of the three principal federal agencies involved in authorizing the project — the U. S. Forest Service and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality — already have approved the Rosemont Mine.

These agencies have attempted to placate us with assurances that the mine, slated to be one of the largest copper mines in the world, won’t harm the water, wildlife or the sacred character of the land on which native peoples have lived for thousands of years. Continue Reading →

Utah has plenty of ‘bling’ from mining – by Amy Joi O’Donoghue (Desert News – December 25, 2018)

Aside from beryllium, Utah is the nation’s sole source of magnesium and is
home to U.S. Magnesium, the country’s only facility producing magnesium
metal from a primary source.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s mining industry put the state among the top 10 in the country for production in 2017, generating $3.3 billion from both industrial and precious metals.

Aside from the copper, silver, gold and molybdenum, Utah is home to the world’s only volcanic source of beryllium, an extremely light metal used in the manufacturing of cellphones, missiles, spacecraft and satellites.

Juab County’s Spor Mountain, where mining began in 1969, produces about 70 percent of the global supply of beryllium, said Ken Krahulec, the Utah Geological Survey’s senior economic geologist. Continue Reading →

Copper Clashes at World’s Largest Pit Signal Trouble Ahead – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – December 20, 2018)

The world’s biggest copper maker is pushing to modernize one of its oldest mines. With the plans spurring a quickening series of worker protests and disruptions, it’s becoming clear that technical challenges won’t be the only hurdle.

Codelco is in the last stages of a $5.5 billion project to breathe new life into its Chuquicamata operation in northern Chile, which will transform the largest open-pit mine by size into an underground operation. The state-owned miner needs to spend $22 billion through 2022 upgrading its aging mines to maintain output at a time when stockpiles in the world’s warehouses are ebbing.

But the project won’t be without human costs, according to the workers, who are signaling further unrest may be in the offing. Changes to mine will entail cutting about 1,700 jobs from the current 5,000. With other Codelco sites set to follow a similar path, workers are feeling more urgency to make themselves heard. That suggests Codelco’s relations with the mine’s workforce may get more fraught just as global copper output is falling behind demand. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Hedge funds give up on indecisive “Doctor” copper – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 18, 2018)

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Fund managers have thrown in the towel on the copper market. The mega long position accumulated on the COMEX copper contract in 2017 is long gone. So too is the equally monstrous collective short bet seen more recently in August this year.

The money men look set to close out 2018 neutral on copper, unsure what the metal with the honorary doctorate in economics has to say on the global manufacturing outlook. The price has flatlined over the last couple of months and investors have voted with their feet.

COMEX open interest has slumped to two-year lows. So too has that on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE), where China’s speculators play the metal markets. The original bullish “Trump Trade” and the subsequent bearish “Trade War Trade” have played themselves out, leaving the market becalmed and investors scratching their heads. For now. Continue Reading →

Mining can be safe and beneficial to Arizonans – by Steve Trussell (Arizona Daily Star – December 16, 2018)

Rosemont will stimulate more than $16 billion in new economic activity in
Arizona and generate $350 million in local tax revenues that will be used
for local projects and services. More than 500 families that will have someone
employed there and the operation will support more than 2,700 indirect jobs.

A wise mentor and great friend who serves in the Legislature shared some valuable insights regarding mining in Arizona by telling a story regarding a recent trip he had taken to Canada. He told me about Vancouver Island, British Columbia, which has a large docking facility that is the outfeed of a mining operation.

He explained the mine wasn’t for some exotic or strategic mineral, like copper. It was an aggregate mine. It wouldn’t be the best aggregate in the world, but at least it would be a hard rock that can be used in making roads, government buildings, schools, and hospitals … in California.

“In California, as in many places where people have achieved a level of confidence and economic status, the ability to mine for the minerals is very unpopular. Mining is cloaked in a dark blanket of biased connotations and election-like smears. Continue Reading →

Shrinking Stockpiles Put Copper On Track For A Price Rise Despite Trade War Uncertainty – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – December 11, 2018)

Slowing global growth and uncertainty about the chance of a permanent settlement in the China v U.S. trade war might not prevent the development of a copper shortage and a higher price for the worlds most important industrial metal.

Hints of copper entering a period of short supply can be seen in the collapse of stockpiles of the metal held in the warehouses of commodity exchanges. At the London Metal Exchange the copper stockpile has dropped to a five-year low of 124,450 tons, less than half the 380,000 tons held in February.

The copper decline was a feature of a briefing delivered to investors last week by Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of the big commodity trading and mining company, Glencore. He said inventories of metals such as copper and zinc had dropped to near record lows. Continue Reading →