Archive | Copper

Newcrest dealing with tailings challenges in NSW and PNG – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – March 18, 2018)

Newcrest finds itself uncomfortably poised at the polar extremes of the mining industry’s relentless waste management dilemma.

Unhappy serendipity sees the accident-prone copper and gold miner working to recover the integrity of a thoroughly conventional tailings dam at a mine in distant western New South Wales while promoting plans for a big new mine in Papua New Guinea whose viable future relies on dumping waste directly into the Solomon Sea.

Production at the gold and copper miner’s most consistently profitable operation, the Cadia mine in NSW, was bought to an unexpected halt on March 9 by a “limited” breach in the walls of one of its two tailings dams. Continue Reading →

Copper could be the solution for displaced coal miners on the Navajo Reservation – by Ryan Randazzo (Arizona Republic – March 15, 2018)

With the impending closure of the Navajo Generating Station coal-fired power plant near Page in December 2019, hundreds of power plant workers and coal miners will need new jobs. Arizona’s copper mines could offer them opportunity.

Thanks to rebounding copper prices, copper mines across Arizona have hundreds of job openings today. The major companies, Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Resolution Copper and Asarco, all said they would be interested in hiring displaced workers from Peabody Energy’s Kayenta Mine should it close.

“Increasing copper prices, from $2 in January 2015 to $3.20 in February, has driven increased production and exploration, and additional employment is sure to follow,” said Steve Trussell, executive director of the Arizona Mining Association. Continue Reading →

A Trump-Kim Summit Could Unfreeze Mining Riches on the Korean Border – by Dexter Roberts (Bloomberg News – March 14, 2018)

UN sanctions have hurt minerals businesses where China meets North Korea. The talks could change that.

Sun Hongtao, the youthful-looking president of Sino-Mining International Ltd., is in a funk, sitting in a cold, empty office in the Chinese town of Changbai in Jilin province. Two miles from where he sits, across the border in North Korea, is the huge Hyesan Youth Copper Mine.

Sun’s company has invested more than $123 million in upgrading equipment at the mine with the aim of tapping its rich reserves. But for more than a year, because of United Nations sanctions imposed in 2016 targeting North Korean minerals, all production at the mine has stopped.

“What can we do?” Sun asks. “We can’t just leave all our equipment and the money we’ve invested behind in North Korea.” President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un are considering holding what would be an unprecedented summit meeting. Continue Reading →

Indonesian polls may delay Freeport settlement -by John McBeth (Asia Times – March 15, 2018)

US mining giant’s planned divestment in world’s largest gold and second largest copper mine threatens to become ensnared in election politics

If the difficult talks between the Indonesian government and American-owned Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold over the future of Papua’s Grasberg mine drag on beyond mid-year, they might well be postponed until after next year’s legislative and presidential elections.

Analysts believe that as much as he wants to reach an overall settlement in the next two months, President Joko Widodo will not be keen for the negotiations on such key issues as valuation and managerial control to become a distraction ahead of or during the campaign period, which formally begins in mid-September.

Government sources say the president’s main concern is to secure funding commitments for the majority stake Freeport agreed to divest in its Indonesian subsidiary so he can show that progress is being made in implementing the framework agreement the two sides signed six months ago. Continue Reading →

As copper booms, miners take hunt to Mongolian dunes – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – March 13, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – When temperatures rise and winds drop in the coming weeks, a band of explorers will hunt for copper riches in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. For years Rio Tinto has been the sole international copper mine operator in Mongolia, bound closely to a country where it has bet billions of dollars on the giant Oyu Tolgoi project.

Others have steered clear due to the risks of operating in a nation with an unpredictable and young democracy and judiciary, a frail economy and extreme weather.

Now rising global demand for a metal used in electric cars and renewable energy, at a time of increased costs and depleted deposits in the world’s biggest copper producer Chile, is driving miners to riskier locations. Continue Reading →

Mines, key to resolve Afghanistan woes ‘Beside political strife, illegal mining spurring conflict in the country’ ( – March 12, 2018)

(MENAFN – Afghanistan Times) By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Political analysts and experts at the Rana Think Thank monthly session on Tuesday expressed concerns over the ongoing crisis in the country and said that Afghanistan’s mines are the only solution to the political and economic woes and could help the country in reaching peace.

Experts believed that Afghanistan is one of the most mineral enriched countries in the world; yet it continues to be one of the poorest nations globally. Afghanistan is replete with precious mines; so mining sector should be strengthened and mines extracted in a bid to help the country move toward economic self-sufficiency and reach durable peace and sustainable development.

Analysts in the session also articulated that illegal mining beside the ongoing political strife and regional rivalries, is spurring the conflict in Afghanistan. They claimed that many countries have their eyes on untapped minerals of Afghanistan. Continue Reading →

Indonesia president wants to wrap up Freeport talks by end-April – by Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – March 5, 2018

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia President Joko Widodo has instructed his administration to complete negotiations over the purchase of a majority stake in Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s local unit by the end of April, a cabinet minister said late on Monday.

“It should be wrapped up before the end of April, valuation and all,” Energy Minister Ignasius Jonan told reporters, referring to directions from President Widodo.

Indonesia cannot simply wait until Freeport’s current mining contract expires in 2021 and then take ownership of its Grasberg copper mine, Jonan said. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Copper spreads, a bear anomaly in a bullish market – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – March 2, 2018)

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange (LME) copper price has risen 26 percent since the start of January 2016. That month saw a five-year downtrend bottom out at $4,318 per tonne. Three-month copper on Friday was trading above $6,900.

The lift in price has been part of a broader revaluation of the base metals complex but also reflects specific concerns about the potential for supply disruption to mined production and scrap flows this year. What’s curious, however, is the movement in LME copper time-spreads over the same period.

The benchmark cash-to-threes period CMCU0-3 was pretty much flat back in January 2016. As of Thursday’s close it was valued at a contango of $35.50 per tonne. Barring two flips into backwardation, one in September and one in December 2016, the trend has been one of widening contango. Continue Reading →

Rockcliff Metals Corporation: King of Grade in Canada’s Most Prolific Mining Belt-Flin Flon-Snow Lake Greenstone Belt (March 2, 2018)

Rockcliff Metals Corp. (TSX.V: RCLF) is a company set for success. With royalty revenues just around the corner, RCLF is getting ready to show the world its full potential as its properties in Manitoba are demonstrating excellent results.

What is also intriguing about RCLF is Management’s ability to pick up amazing properties from staking high-quality prospects or from seasoned prospectors or joint-venture opportunities, like they did with a senior base-metal producer Hudbay Minerals who has had continuous mining in the world-class Flin Flon-Snow Lake Greenstone Belt (FF-SL GB) for nearly a century.

Over the past 10 years, RCLF has amassed over 45,000 collective hectares in this camp, spent over $27 million, completed over 80,000 metres of drilling and has grown its collective basemetal resources to over 11 Mt of high-grade copper, gold, zinc and silver, all in one of the richest and most prolific mining camps in the world. Continue Reading →

The World’s Cobalt Supply Is In Jeopardy – by Frank Holmes (Forbes Magazine – February 27, 2018)

Disney’s Black Panther is in theaters right now, breaking all kinds of box office records and wowing audiences. The film features a fictional, highly-advanced African country known as Wakanda, whose vast wealth and prosperity are derived almost exclusively from the mining of a rare, fantastical metal called vibranium.

In its own colorful way, Black Panther does an excellent job dramatizing mining’s important role in supplying the world with much-needed raw materials. Vibranium is the basis for everything in the film, from the title character’s flashy superhero suit to Wakanda’s otherworldly infrastructure and vehicles, to its futuristic medicine and weaponry.

Like Wakanda, the real Africa is rich in minerals and metals, many of them extremely valuable. Think platinum and palladium in South Africa, diamonds in Botswana, copper in Zambia and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Continue Reading →

‘THIS IS A SIGN OF HOPEFULNESS. WE AREN’T DEAD YET.’ – by Leah Ryan (Mesabi Daily News – February 28, 2018)

AURORA — Headlines seen in the Mesabi Daily News over the years, dating back about two decades, document the sometimes-turbulent progress of PolyMet. As early up and downs of the NorthMet project mirrored the cyclical mining industry, few thought it would take this long to get to this point.

What has never been turbulent is the support PolyMet has received from Iron Rangers who depend on mining jobs to support their families. Now, as the reality of the PolyMet project draws even closer, opinions and fortunes on the East Range are proving to be ever optimistic.

“We are being rewarded for extreme patience,” commented Aurora City Councilor Douglas Gregor. “I would not have been as enthusiastic if the agencies hadn’t done what they have … We have a highly environmentally regulated state which has encouraged the mining companies to become environmentally conscious. With both environmental consciousness and the economic stimulation, this project is incredible.” Continue Reading →

Australia’s Top Gold Miner Boosts Bets on Ecuador’s Riches – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – February 25, 2018)

Australia’s largest gold producer, Newcrest Mining Ltd., will invest $250 million for a stake in Lundin Gold Inc. to boost its presence in Ecuador, which is attracting a slate of mining giants hunting for major untapped metals deposits.

Newcrest will take 27.1 percent of Vancouver-based Lundin Gold, which expects to bring the Fruta del Norte gold and silver mine in southeastern Ecuador into production by the end of next year.

The companies will explore eight other concessions to the north and south of the project under the deal, and Newcrest can earn up to a 50 percent interest in that joint venture by spending $20 million over five years, the Melbourne-based producer said in a statement Monday. Continue Reading →

Australian miners ramp up investment in electric-vehicle metals – by Kaori Takahashi (Nikkei Asian Review – February 22, 2018)

Copper and lithium among targets for spending as demand and prices climb

SYDNEY — Australia’s mining companies are shelling out more to find copper and other materials used in electric vehicles as demand for the next-generation automobiles grows.

Anglo-Australian mining group BHP Billiton looks to invest $6.9 billion in plants and exploration in the year through June, up 32% from the previous fiscal year’s $5.22 billion.

The aim is to improve productivity at the company’s core coal and iron ore operations, and to develop its copper business. BHP in February completed a $350 million facilities upgrade at the Olympic Dam copper mine, where it plans to raise output 25-35% on the year. Continue Reading →

Copper stocks look better than gold as commodity prices rise – by Jonathan Ratner (Ottawa Citizen – February 20, 2018)

The risk for gold producers and any late cycle development projects is they are ‘caught on the back foot’

Commodity prices have finally risen to the point that miners can start new development projects, but the rally in metals prices also brings higher costs for producers.

Both operating and capital costs tend to climb sharply during cyclical rallies for metals. However, some companies have proven more adept than others at generating returns in the face of this challenge.

Stephen D. Walker, head of global mining research at RBC Capital Markets, found that returns on invested capital (ROIC) for base metals companies exceeded those of gold miners during the recent commodity cycle. Continue Reading →

Southern Copper wins auction for massive Peru copper project – by Frik Els ( – February 20, 2018)

An auction for the $2 billion Michiquillay copper project in Peru attracted 10 interested companies according to Peru’s government investment agency Proinversión with Southern Copper Corp declared the winner on Tuesday.

Reuters reports Southern Copper won the tender with a proposal to transfer $400 million to the government and pay 3% royalties. Southern Copper is controlled by conglomerate Grupo Mexico. Southern’s chief executive told Reuters in September that Michiquillay has arsenic impurities, requiring a “slightly higher” investment to clean up the area.

According to Proinversión, the other companies that pre-registered for the tender included Peru’s Buenaventura, local units of Rio Tinto, Teck Resources and Hudbay Minerals, as well as Compania Minera Milpo, a company controlled by Brazil’s Votorontim. Milpo had offered $250 million in transfers and 1.875% royalties. Eight companies did not end up bidding. Continue Reading →