Archive | Copper

BUTTE, MONTANA: World Museum of Mining (Atlas – September 2019)

The World Museum of Mining sits on the grounds of a formerly active mine and boasts many different original structures and equipment, encapsulating a major part of Butte, Montana’s, rich mining history.

By the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the town had established itself as one of the major copper boomtowns of the American West. At that time, copper was in high demand and was needed for new technologies, including the use of electric power. By 1910, Butte was dubbed “the richest hill on Earth,” as it had many different mines sprawled around its city limits.

One such mine that was unveiled within the city in 1875. It was known as the “Orphan Girl Mine,” also nicknamed “Orphan Annie” or just “The Girl,” because of its desirably cool working temperatures (55 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit). Continue Reading →

Should we mine copper and nickel in Minnesota … to help defeat climate change? – by Walker Orenstein (Minn Post – September 11, 2019)

Just as steel made from Minnesota’s iron ore powered the U.S. military to victory during World War II, supporters of copper-nickel mining in the state say the industry could help defeat another global challenge: the climate crisis.

Demand is on the rise for renewable energy and electric cars that rely on copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals. And as the world continues to transition away from fossil fuels, the need for those minerals will only continue to grow.

In August, Gov. Tim Walz told MinnPost the state should allow mining if it expects to reach a carbon-free future. “There’s 5.5 tons of copper in every megawatt of solar, and it comes from somewhere,” he said. Continue Reading →

Column: Copper finely poised between negative macro and robust micro – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – September 9, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Copper last week hit a year-to-date low of $5,518 per tonne in the London market as the macroeconomic picture becomes ever gloomier. Funds remain heavily short, betting that copper demand is set to worsen amid what is looking like a synchronised downturn in the global manufacturing sector.

The copper price is starting to buckle under the weight of speculative selling pressure but it’s not yet ready to collapse. London Metal Exchange three-month copper could easily have imploded on last Tuesday’s lurch lower but instead clawed its way back to close the week at $5,833.

Market sentiment was helped by the prospect of renewed trade talks between the United States and China but also by copper’s still robust internal supply-demand dynamics, not least China’s continued appetite for imported metal. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Chinese investors hold key as global funds turn super bearish on copper – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – August 19, 2019)

LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) – There’s been a lot of talk about inverted yield curves over the past few days. Specifically, last week’s inversion of the two-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury notes has raised the spectre of recession, sending tremors through U.S. stock markets.

Financial market analysts are poring over their historical data for clues as to how likely and how severe a global contraction might be. Those who follow the copper market, however, will know that “Doctor Copper” with his honorary degree in economics got there first.

London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper has slumped from above $6,600 per tonne in April to a current $5,800. Global economic weakness is being led by the manufacturing sector with activity contracting or slowing just about everywhere. That includes China, the powerhouse of industrial metals demand. Continue Reading →

Local View Column: Let’s have honest conversations about copper-nickel mining – by Dean DeBeltz (Duluth News Tribune – August 16, 2019)

Dean DeBeltz is director of operations and safety for Twin Metals Minnesota. He is based in Ely.

As people gather for the Wild Waters Music Fest in Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park today, there will be much conversation about what needs to be done to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

As Twin Metals Minnesota’s proposed mine plan moves through the regulatory process, those of us who work in mining will be an important part of those conversations — not only because we, too, care deeply about the Boundary Waters but because we are committed to the health of the communities of Northeastern Minnesota, where our common future lives.

The Iron Range we know today was built on both mining and the wilderness. The forests of northern Minnesota have been home to mines and logging operations, outfitters and outdoor adventurers continuously for more than 130 years. Continue Reading →

Incoming Codelco CEO ‘optimistic’ on long-term copper price – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.K. – August 14, 2019)

CHUQUICAMATA, Chile (Reuters) – The incoming chief executive of Chile’s state copper miner Codelco said he was “optimistic” about the long-term market price of copper despite the global volatility caused by the U.S.-China trade war.

“There is a lot of volatility at this moment because of everything that’s happening in the world, but we remain optimistic about the long-term outlook (of the copper price),” Octavio Araneda told journalists on Wednesday.

In April, Chile’s state copper commission Cochilco held its estimate for the price of copper at $3.05 per pound, rising to $3.08 for 2020 on improving prospects for growth in China. Continue Reading →

EV charging points to bolster demand for copper – by Mariaan Webb ( – August 13, 2019)

As the global adoption of electric mobility accelerates and more charging stations are deployed across the world, demand for copper will increase substantially over the next decade.

A report by research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie states that more than 20-million electric vehicle (EV) charging points will be deployed globally by 2030, consuming more than 250% more copper than in 2019.

To meet these targets, the group says more private and public investment is required. Copper is used throughout an EV, but research analyst Henry Salisbury notes that the need for copper becomes even greater when charging stations and supporting electrical grid infrastructure are also considered. Continue Reading →

South America’s glaciers may have a bigger problem than climate change – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – August 14, 2019)

Government geologist Gino Casassa steps down from the helicopter and looks around in dismay. Casassa is standing at the foot of a glacier, 4,200 meters (13,800 feet) above sea level.

The sky over the Andes is a deep blue, but something is not right: It’s July—mid-winter in South America—and yet it’s mild for the time of year, above 0 degrees Centigrade. He takes off his orange ski jacket and walks on the bare rock.

“This should all be covered by snow this time of year,” he says, pointing to Olivares Alfa, one of the largest glaciers in central Chile, just a few meters away. “There used to be one single glacier system covering this whole valley; now it’s pulled back so much that it’s divided into four or five smaller glaciers.” Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay: Opponents to copper mine in Northern Minnesota hope to rally support in Fort Frances, Ont. – by Jeff Walters (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 14, 2019)

A proposed copper mine in Northern Minnesota will get some attention Wednesday evening at a public meeting in Fort Frances, Ont. The Coalition to Save the Boundary Waters hopes to get some support from Canadians, and wants people in Fort Frances to speak with government to try and have Canadian politicians oppose the mine south of the border.

“This type of mining in sulfide bearing ore inevitably leads to the degredation of water quality,” said Becky Rom, the Chair of the coalition. “And yet, what we have here are interconnected waters, and our water quality is extremely good.”

Rom said water discharged from the mine would lead to the Boundary Waters, and through Quetico Provincial Park before reaching Rainy Lake and Rainy River, which include Canadian and U.S. waters. Continue Reading →

Arizona copper mine ruling expected to have national impact (San Francisco Chronicle – August 13, 2019)

Associated Press – TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal court ruling against a planned Arizona mining project is expected to have national repercussions if upheld by higher courts, experts said.

The mining industry has decried the ruling against the proposed $1.9 billion Rosemont Mine, The Arizona Daily Star reported .

The U.S. Forest Service’s approval of plans for the new copper mine in southeastern Arizona was overruled July 31 by U.S. District Court Judge James Soto. Conservation and tribal groups praised the ruling, saying it recognized the Forest Service’s failure to protect public land and resources. Continue Reading →

Chinese demand for ‘green’ metals increasing ‘exceptionally fast’ – Glencore – by Martin Creamer ( – August 7, 2019)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The demand for environmentally protective ‘green’ metals is increasing exceptionally fast, boosted by a 59% increase in electric vehicle production in China, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said on Wednesday.

In response to Mining Weekly Online during a post-results conference call, Glasenberg reiterated that Glencore had the right range of metals for which demand was poised to rise as the world decarbonised. But while demand growth remained positive, supply was low, with easily accessible high-quality resources running out.

The London- and Johannesburg-listed Glencore is a producer and a marketer of metals including copper, nickel and cobalt, which are all well positioned for future outcomes, despite the cobalt price being down currently. Continue Reading →

Clean energy dream fuels a dirty mineral rush ( – August 8, 2019)

A future of environment-friendly energy, where dirty engines and power plants rust in history’s scrapyard, is an idyllic vision. In the cynical real world, the rush for green batteries is fueling a harmful mining boom.

By 2030, there will be 140 million electric cars on Earth, and by 2040 every third vehicle will be powered by green electricity instead of the fossil fuels that have been slowly choking the environment for the past couple centuries. That’s according to assessments by Glencore Plc and BloombergNEF.

Sounds like we’re on the right track and Greta Thunberg’s zero-emission dream could be achieved within her lifetime. Humanity is finally coming to its senses.

Get digging

Not quite. All those cars will need batteries, and all those batteries will need to be built with a small periodic table of minerals. And all those minerals need to be mined – in some cases strip-mining the rest of the planet’s explored deposits. Continue Reading →

Column: Copper hits 2-year lows as metals demand outlook dims – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – August 5, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – If you believe that “Doctor Copper” is a sensitive gauge of the health of the global economy, then you should be worried. London Metal Exchange (LME) copper fell through the year’s low of $5,725 per tonne on Friday and hit a 26-month low of $5,640 early on Monday.

The trigger for the slump was the latest escalation of the trade stand-off between the United States and China, President Trump announcing the imposition of more tariffs on Chinese goods effective the beginning of next month.

Copper has been used as a proxy for trading the on-off trade talks for some time and funds had amassed a significant short position on the CME copper contract even before Friday’s break-down. Continue Reading →

Copper Sends a Message to Markets That Growth Is Already Wrecked – by Mark Burton and Luzi-Ann Javier (Bloomberg News – August 5, 2019)

For the past year, copper traded like a seesaw on the on-again, off-again hopes of a U.S. and China trade deal. Now it’s more like a rollercoaster ride down.

The focus is increasingly on the damage caused by the havoc of a trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies. The broad applications for copper mean it’s particularly vulnerable to the synchronized tailspin being seen in everything from car-making and earth-moving equipment to commercial property and advanced electronic components.

“What the hard data is telling us is that end-use demand is slow and in many places getting kicked quite hard,” Oliver Nugent, a metals strategist at Citigroup Inc., said by phone from London. “China’s commodity-intensive economy is as weak as it’s been in recent history.” Continue Reading →

Court upholds MN rules in copper-nickel mining challenge – by Dan Kraker (Minnesota Public Radio – August 5, 2019)

The Minnesota Court of Appeals Monday dealt a setback to several environmental groups challenging the state’s rules governing copper-nickel mining.

The groups argued in a lawsuit that the state’s rules over mine waste disposal, mining areas and permits to mine for “nonferrous metallic mineral mining” are too vague for courts and regulatory agencies to enforce, and don’t adequately protect the environment.

It was among several suits filed by conservation and environmental groups after the state approved PolyMet Mining’s controversial proposal to build Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine late last year. Continue Reading →