Archive | Copper

Hudbay’s Rosemont mine pushes ahead despite concerns on water impacts – by Ian Bickis (Canadian Press/Bloomberg News – March 21, 2019)

TORONTO — A controversial mine being developed by a Canadian company in Arizona shows the lengths to which the industry will go to feed the world’s unrelenting demand for copper.

Hudbay Minerals Inc. and a previous owner have been pushing to get approval for the Rosemont mine for more than a decade amid local opposition and skepticism from regulators about water issues in the semi-arid region.

To secure approval for the nearly US$2-billion mine the company has proposed numerous measures to reduce impacts on the environment, including what it says is an “unprecedented” use of dry-stack tailings. Continue Reading →

‘Radical’ Foes, Red Tape Hinder Ecuador’s Quest to Become a Mining Superpower – by Laura Millan Lombrana and Stephan Kueffner (Bloomberg News – March 19, 2019)

Ecuador has tethered its economic fortunes to a burgeoning mining industry. Now it just needs to get bureaucrats and community leaders on board.

Local opposition and red tape are hindering plans to become a mining superpower that can rival other South American nations. Less than two years ago the government hoped mining would become 4 percent of Ecuador’s gross domestic product by the end of President Lenin Moreno’s term in 2021. That’s now under question, according to Deputy Mining Minister Fernando Benalcazar.

“That 4 percent is aggressive, given the conditions of radical social and environmental opposition that we have been seeing,” Benalcazar said in an interview in Quito. “Mining belongs to all 17 million Ecuadorians and large projects can’t be decided by groups of people that don’t represent even one per thousand of the country.” Continue Reading →

Huge demand for copper, cobalt, lithium and nickel in the offing as EV uptake increases – by Tracy Hancock ( – March 15, 2019)

Metals of the Future

Investors focused on the mining sector may not fully appreciate how quickly the electric vehicle (EV) is being adopted globally, in light of the world pursuing a low-carbon emissions future, says battery metals investment vehicle Cobalt 27 Capital chairperson and CEO Anthony Milewski, who warns of a potential deficit in the supply of the metals critical to achieving this future.

Global management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company says 2017 marked the first time EV sales passed the one- million mark, noting in May 2018 that, by 2020, EV producers could be moving 4.5- million units, about 5% of the overall global light-vehicle market.

Even with South Africa’s electricity supply woes, automotive company Jaguar Land Rover South Africa forecast in January that South Africa could have 145 000 EVs on its roads, expecting yearly sales of new EVs to reach 43 000 units in the next six years. Continue Reading →

Column: Funds start buying into the copper recovery story – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – March 12, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – In a tentative return to Doctor Copper for the money men, investors are starting to buy back into the metal after aggressively shorting the market at the start of the year.

Some of the gloom weighing on the copper price appears to be lifting, with more positive noises from U.S.-China trade talks and expectations that Beijing’s latest stimulus boost will revitalise a flagging manufacturing sector.

Copper’s own micro dynamics, in particular low visible stocks on the world’s three exchanges, are also fanning bullish enthusiasm. Funds increased their net long holdings on the CME copper contract by 7,488 contracts to 23,126 in the week to March 5, a level not seen since the middle of last year. Continue Reading →

SolGold’s Nick Mather our Mining Person of the Year for 2018 – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – February 27, 2019)

Northern Miner

Nicholas Mather, president and CEO of Australian junior SolGold, is The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2018 in recognition of his role as the driving force behind the wildly successful grassroots team that has drilled off the world-class Alpala gold-copper deposit at its Cascabel project in Imbabura province in northern Ecuador, with potentially many more discoveries to come in the region.

The past year was a pivotal one for Toronto- and London-listed SolGold. In November 2018, it tabled an updated resource for Alpala that tallied a staggering 2.1 billion indicated tonnes grading 0.41% copper and 0.29 gram gold per tonne, or 0.60% copper equivalent (at a 0.2% copper-equivalent cut-off), plus another 900 million inferred tonnes grading 0.27% copper and 0.13 gram gold, or 0.35% copper equivalent, at the same cut-off. These numbers are based on 133,600 metres of drilling.

That translates to a contained metal content of 8.4 million tonnes copper and 19.4 million oz. gold in the indicated category, and another 2.5 million tonnes copper and 3.8 million oz. gold in inferred. Continue Reading →

Delayed But Looming: The Question of Bougainville Independence – by Grant Wyeth (The Diplomat – March 14, 2019)

The referendum for Papua New Guinea’s eastern region is now set for October. How its outcome will be handled remains unclear.

Earlier this month the date of the Bougainville independence referendum was pushed back. Initially — although tentatively — scheduled for June 15, the poll will now be held in October. Under the 2001 peace agreement that followed a decade-long civil war in Papua New Guinea (PNG), it was negotiated that a referendum on the future status of Bougainville would be held prior to mid-2020.

While preparations have been ongoing, it is believed the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC), headed by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, would have been both financially and structurally struggling to meet the referendum’s requirements by June.

While the delay in the referendum isn’t a great surprise, the exact meaning of the referendum continues to be contested. PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill recently stated that the referendum is nonbinding, and that after the poll is conducted the PNG parliament will debate the results, and ultimately decide on whether Bouganville will become the world’s newest country. Continue Reading →

Pakistan military eyes key role developing giant copper and gold mine – by Drazen Jorgic (Reuters U.K. – March 11, 2019)

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s military is taking a key role in the development of one of the world’s biggest untapped copper and gold deposits, which is currently stalled by a multi-billion dollar legal wrangle with foreign mining firms, multiple sources familiar with the situation said.

The Reko Diq mine has become a test case for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ability to attract serious foreign investment to Pakistan as it struggles to stave off an economic crisis that has forced it to seek an International Monetary Fund bailout.

Ten current and former provincial and federal government officials and mining sources familiar with the project in the Baluchistan region say the military has become the most important voice on the future of Reko Diq, which it sees as a strategic national asset. Continue Reading →

Codelco’s lithium push fades in favor of copper – by Dave Sherwood and Fabian Cambero (Reuters Canada – March 5, 2019)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – With the global race to secure lithium heating up in 2016, Chile’s president Michelle Bachelet wanted to be sure her country seized the moment. Home to half the world’s lithium reserves, Chile tapping its state-run miner Codelco to ramp up production seemed a sure bet.

Chile’s most trusted public enterprise, she said, could hunt for private partners to help it mine its own lithium for the good of all Chileans, and take part in the global boom for the battery metal used to power electric vehicles.

A review of regulatory filings, court documents and interviews with Codelco officials shows the strategy was deeply troubled from the start. Dwindling support inside Codelco to prioritize lithium projects over copper, company insiders said, was compounded by legal and regulatory hurdles that stalled development of the company’s two flagship salt flats known as Pedernales and Maricunga. Continue Reading →

Turquoise Hill flags potential further delays at Oyu Tolgoi – by Marleny Arnoldi ( – February 27, 2019)

TSX- and NYSE-listed Turquoise Hill Resources has flagged potential further delays in the development schedule of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine project, saying that the completion of ‘technically complex’ installations at Shaft 2 could take longer than previously thought.

The Rio Tinto-owned company, which holds the giant mine in a 66:34 partnership with the Mongolian government, last year said that sustainable production at the $5.3-billion underground mining project would only be achieved in the third quarter of 2021 rather than the previously guided start of 2021.

However, Turquoise Hill on Wednesday reported that it was increasingly likely that sustainable first production would be delayed beyond the third quarter of 2021. Continue Reading →

Column: LME copper squeeze will test market’s bull credentials – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 21, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Is copper finally about to break up out of its well-trodden seven-month range? London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper came tantalisingly close on Wednesday with a mini-surge to $6,426.50, challenging the upper band of the $5,725 to $6,440 range that has defined the market since July 2018.

The market was regrouping Thursday around the $6,380 level. Glencore set the ball rolling with an announcement that an “updated mine plan” at its Mutanda copper operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo would reduce output by 100,000 tonnes per year.

Momentum came from chart dynamics, specifically a break of the 200-day moving average on Tuesday, and frantic covering by options traders against upside exposure. Continue Reading →

Copper and Lithium Giant Squeezing Water Rights for Miners – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – February 21, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — In a belated response to falling fresh-water levels in desert areas, Chile is moving to protect a natural resource that has been depleted after decades of mining activity.

With complaints from local communities rising and the effects of climate change worsening, the world’s largest copper producer is planning to implement measures that will make it more difficult for miners to pump fresh water.

Chile’s water authority DGA will more than double the number of so-called prohibition areas across the country this year to at least 70 from 30, according to general director Oscar Cristi. No new licenses can be awarded within prohibition zones and any extension to existing permits will need to be approved by environmental authorities. Continue Reading →

Controversial Alaska gold-copper mine moves step closer to approval – by Yereth Rosen (Reuters U.S. – February 20, 2019)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – The world’s biggest undeveloped gold and copper mining project, planned in southwestern Alaska near the largest fishery for sockeye salmon globally, moved a step closer to approval on Wednesday after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a draft environmental impact statement.

The Pebble Mine would produce 70 million tons of gold, molybdenum and copper ore a year and create a pit 1,970 feet (600 meters) deep. A new road, pipeline and power plant would be built, according to the mine plan.

The site is near Lake Iliamna in southwestern Alaska between the headwaters of two rivers that drain into Bristol Bay. The Corps’ draft statement came after public meetings that began last April to hear views from tribes and local communities about the potential benefits and environmental risks of the project. Continue Reading →

Copper Miner’s $10 Billion Bet Comes to Life in Panama Jungle – by Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg News – February 14, 2019)

The world’s largest new copper mine rumbled to a start this week in the Panamanian jungle, poised to supply a global market that’s tipping into deficit and gives First Quantum Minerals Ltd. a chance to prove its $10 billion investment was worth all the trouble.

Cobre Panama, a vast mining and processing complex near Panama’s Atlantic coast, processed its first ore on Monday, a half century after the deposit was discovered. At full production in 2021, it will turn Vancouver-based First Quantum into a top copper producer alongside giants like Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and BHP Group.

For Panama, it’s the biggest investment ever outside the canal and makes the Central American country a key supplier to a copper market facing labor unrest and governments grasping for greater takes. The $6.3 billion project will be able to ship its concentrate, thanks to the Panama Canal, to just about any smelter in the world. Continue Reading →

The Remote Island Sitting on $58 Billion of Gold and Copper – by Aaron Clark and Dan Murtaugh (Bloomberg News – February 12, 2019)

A mining company claiming interests in copper and gold reserves estimated at $58 billion on the Pacific island of Bougainville said its rights are under threat by efforts to revive the resource sector in the run up to a independence referendum.

At the heart of the dispute is the Panguna mine, which was operated by Sydney-listed Bougainville Copper Ltd. for 17 years before shutting in 1989 amid clashes that killed as many as 20,000 people in the autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.

Now the company, known as BCL, is warning investors that legislation proposed by Bougainville’s government will make significant changes to its mining law, including granting powers to a new British Virgin Island-registered company to take mining leases across the island. Continue Reading →

Column: Looking for answers from Dr Copper? He’s confused as well – by Andy Bell (Reuters U.K. – February 8, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Doctor Copper seems very confused at the moment. The metal with the honorary degree in economics is caught between the current reality of deteriorating macro signals and the belief that things will soon get better.

Nowhere more so than in China, the single biggest user of copper and just about every other industrial metal. It was Beijing’s campaign to soak up excess liquidity in the Chinese economy that stopped copper in its upward tracks in the second quarter of last year.

The London price slumped from over $7,000 per tonne to under $6,000 over the course of June and July. Fears of a slowdown in China, even an engineered one, sent funds running for the copper exit door. Continue Reading →