Archive | Copper

Coronavirus may prevent Codelco from re-gaining world’s top copper miner spot – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 25, 2020)

Chile’s copper miner Codelco may not regain its position as the world’s top producer of the red metal this year, as delays in upgrades and expansion projects caused by measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus add to the impact of low prices and lack of funding.

The miner, which hands all its revenue over to the state, was in the midst of implementing a $40 billion, 10-year modernization of its mines, aimed at maintaining output despite rapidly falling ore grades.

A sustained drop in copper prices — down 22% so far this year — and the lack of readily available government funding while the country deals with ongoing unrest, has however cast doubts on Codelco’s ability to keep up production rates. Continue Reading →

First Quantum eyes stake sale in Panama mine – sources – by Clara Denina and Jeff Lewis (Reuters U.S. – March 24, 2020)

LONDON/TORONTO (Reuters) – Miner First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) is considering selling a minority stake in its flagship Cobre Panama copper mine to reduce debt, two banking sources familiar with the discussions said.

First Quantum’s possible move comes as global miners scramble to bolster finances strained by the coronavirus pandemic, which has battered stocks and copper prices CMCUc1. First Quantum shares are down more than 50% this year.

Total investment in Cobre Panama, located 120 km (75 miles) west of Panama City, up to 2019 stood at $6.3 billion, according to the company. Continue Reading →

Copper Gains on Supply Shortage Fears Amid Coronavirus Outbreak – by Madhurima Das Zacks (Yahoo Finance – March 24, 2020)

With major mining countries ramping up efforts to contain spread of the coronavirus outbreak, it has triggered supply concerns for copper, which in turn has resulted the metal’s escalating prices. Further, the industrial metal gained on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement of extensive new measures to support the U.S economy. Copper prices were up 1.5% to close at $2.15 per pound on Mar 23, 2020.

The Fed pledged to buy an unlimited amount of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, as required. It also announced three new lending facilities to support consumer and business credit markets. The Fed also announced that it will soon roll out a program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses.

Coronavirus cases across the globe have escalated to 332,930, per WHO’s situation report as of Mar 23, 2020, while the death toll stands at 14,510. Continue Reading →

Global copper production to grow 3% annually until 2029 – by Editor ( – March 18, 2020)

Global copper mine production will see steady growth over the next few years, as a number of new projects and expansions come online, supported by rising copper prices and demand, Fitch Solutions forecasts in a new report.

Fitch analysts predict global copper mine production to increase by an average annual rate of 3.1% over 2020-2029, with total output rising from 20.3 to 26.8 million tonnes over the same period.

In 2020, Fitch forecasts Chile to increase production modestly by 0.5% to 5.89 million tonnes. Growth will be led by the ramp-up of BHP’s Spence Growth Option over H2 2020, increasing production at Lundin Mining’s Candelaria mine and a rebound in production from mines hampered by heavy rains in the beginning of 2019. Continue Reading →

Copper price meltdown sinks mining stocks – Freeport down 24% – by Frik Els ( – March 18, 2020)

The decline in the copper price accelerated on Wednesday as pandemic fears grip global markets and mining companies announce a raft of production halts and project construction suspensions.

Copper trading in New York fell by 8.8% to $2.111 a pound ($4,650 a tonne), the weakest level since early October 2016. The copper price is now down 27% from its 2020 high, struck near the end of January.

Across South America, where the bulk of the world’s copper is produced, countries including Argentina, Peru and Chile have closed borders or imposed restrictions to contain the outbreak on the continent. Continue Reading →

Red Mountain Rush: The Le Roi mine in British Columbia was a testament to the free-wheeling nature of mining during the gold rush in its early years – by Jen Glanville (CIM Magazine – March 16, 2020)

By the 19th Century the mineral wealth of British Columbia’s Kootenay region was considered a good bet thanks to the historic prospecting done by the Hudson’s Bay. The region was too remote to make mining economically feasible, but the emergence of two transcontinental railways in the 1880s changed all of that. In a matter of years, the region was opened up, and prospectors were on the hunt for their own El Dorado of the north.

Prospectors Joe Moris and Joe Bourgeois were among the first to jump at the opportunity. Bourgeois, the more experienced of the two, thought Red Mountain, near the town of Rossland, looked promising and staked the first claims there in 1890.

The samples derived from the claims were not favourable initially, and Bourgeois was hesitant to even record them, but with a bit of convincing from Moris, the two filed the claim with Eugene Sayre Topping, a deputy mining recorder for the provincial government. Continue Reading →

Federal judge hands Twin Metals major win in fight over mining near Boundary Waters – by Jennifer Bjorhus (Star Tribune – March 17, 2020)

Copper-mining opponents assailed the decision as a “slap in the face.”

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has dealt a significant blow to environmental groups fighting to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from copper-nickel mining in Minnesota.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden ruled that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it reissued two mineral leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in 2018.

The Obama administration had previously denied the company’s request to renew its two leases to mine on 5,000 acres of public land in Superior National Forest after the U.S. Forest Service concluded that copper mining so close to the Boundary Waters was too risky, and it could cause “serious and irreparable harm” to an “irreplaceable wilderness area.” Continue Reading →

Copper kills coronavirus. Why aren’t our surfaces covered in it? – by Mark Wilson (Fast Company – March 16, 2020)

In China, it was called “qi,” the symbol for health. In Egypt it was called “ankh,” the symbol for eternal life. For the Phoenicians, the reference was synonymous with Aphrodite—the goddess of love and beauty.

These ancient civilizations were referring to copper, a material that cultures across the globe have recognized as vital to our health for more than 5,o00 years. When influenzas, bacteria like E. coli, superbugs like MRSA, or even coronaviruses land on most hard surfaces, they can live for up to four to five days.

But when they land on copper, and copper alloys like brass, they die within minutes. “We’ve seen viruses just blow apart,” says Bill Keevil, professor of environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton. “They land on copper and it just degrades them.” Continue Reading →

METALS-Copper tumbles to 40-month low on fears for economy, demand – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.S. – March 16, 2020)

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) – Copper prices slid on Monday to the lowest since November 2016 on worries that lockdowns in Europe and the United States to tackle the coronavirus would further erode metals demand.

But the falls in industrial metals of around 1-4% were more measured than in equity and oil markets, which saw plunges of 10% or more. Around half of metals demand comes from China, where new virus cases have fallen sharply and the government is expected to roll out major stimulus spending.

“Despite the very, very negative numbers for China over the weekend in terms of industrial production and fixed asset investment, I would still say that the general view is that China should recover from here,” said analyst Carsten Menke at Julius Baer in Zurich. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-China copper inventories near 4-yr high as supply swamps virus-hit demand; steel stocks build slows – by Tom Daly, Min Zhang and Mai Nguyen (Reuters U.S. – March 13, 2020)

BEIJING, March 13 (Reuters) – Shanghai Futures Exchange copper inventories rose another 10% in the past week to their highest in almost four years amid signs China’s production is holding up even as demand struggles to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.

Chinese steel stocks, meanwhile, remain at record highs, although the pace of the build has slowed. Inventories of copper CU-STX-SGH climbed by 34,959 tonnes from the previous week to 380,065 tonnes, the exchange said on Friday. That’s the most since March 25, 2016.

The boost comes after Chinese research house Antaike said February copper output in its smelter survey was flat from January at 656,000 tonnes, much higher than expected, and as key metal consuming sectors are slow to return to work. Continue Reading →

China $570 billion stimulus raises hopes for copper, iron ore price – by Frik Els ( – March 11, 2020)

Copper and iron ore prices have held up surprisingly well as markets in the West belatedly come to grips with the coronavirus pandemic and China shifts focus from containment to rebuilding its economy following more than two months of inactivity.

On Wednesday BMO Capital Markets held a conference call with PRC Macro, a consulting firm focused on China’s political economy, about the prospects for 2020 GDP growth in the country.

PRC Macro anticipates spending by Beijing of as much as $570 billion primarily focused on infrastructure. PRC Macro says “in order to declare an economic victory, a 5% growth rate is the absolute minimum that will be acceptable”: Continue Reading →

Copper to Rally Once Virus Passes, Chile Minister Says – by Maria Elena Vizcaino and Esteban Duarte (Bloomberg News – March 3, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — The deadly coronavirus that’s rattled markets since January won’t stop copper prices from surging to $3 a pound this year, according to Chilean Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica.

The price of copper, often used as a barometer for the global economy, has dropped about 7% so far in 2020, signaling demand for the metal used in everything from electronics to automobiles has cooled as investors retreat from riskier assets.

Copper supplies at warehouses tracked by the Shanghai Futures Exchange expanded to the highest ever for this time of year as logistical constraints inside China are stopping output from reaching end-users, further pressuring down price for the metal. Continue Reading →

Coronavirus fears hang over Toronto mining conference, but some executives see opportunity – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – March 3, 2020)

One industry veteran predicts anti-microbial copper would face increased demand as superbug viruses continue to emerge and pose threats to society

Tens of thousands of mining executives from roughly a hundred countries started pouring into downtown Toronto’s convention centre over the weekend to attend an annual commodity conference, apparently unfazed by the growing concerns about coronavirus.

Nonetheless, the deadly Covid-19 strain that’s spreading across the world surfaced as a topic of near constant discussion at this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada event.

While a number of major global events such as the IHS CERAWeek 2020 event in Houston, the CRU-Cesco World Copper Conference in Chile and Geneva Autoshow were cancelled due to the virus outbreak, PDAC organizers have persevered. Continue Reading →

Freeport’s Adkerson does not want to sell Grasberg mine to Barrick – by Jeff Lewis (Reuters U.S. – February 24, 2020)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Reuters) – Freeport McMoRan Inc (FCX.N) is not interested in selling its Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia, Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said on Monday, tamping down speculation of a deal with Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO).

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow in recent weeks has expressed interest in buying Grasberg. Earlier this month Bristow said he sees no competition for the asset from global or state-backed Chinese miners.

That back and forth from two of the mining industry’s most-powerful executives comes as investors are expecting a wave of buyouts this year, especially for copper assets. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Funds sell copper as coronavirus hits physical supply chains – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 24, 2020)

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Funds have given up on their early-year hopes for higher copper prices. Investors have turned bearish on the CME copper contract , slashing long positions and putting on fresh bets for lower prices.

The net money manager short is now back at levels last seen in the third quarter of 2019, when market sentiment hit a “trade war” trough. The deadly coronavirus has frozen the expected Chinese manufacturing recovery story and is now showing signs of spreading to South Korea, another industrial powerhouse.

While equity markets have been taking a more sanguine view of the medium-term economic impact of the virus, copper is starting to price in the multiple short-term impacts on the physical supply chain. Continue Reading →