Archive | Copper

Alaska to appeal Corps’ Pebble decision – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – January 11, 2021)

Alaska officials say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers neglected to follow its own guidance when setting mitigations measures for Pebble and the state is appealing Army Corps’ decision to deny federal permits required to develop a mine at the world-class metals deposit on state lands in Southwest Alaska.

“The flawed decision by the Alaska District creates a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly harm Alaska’s future and, any potential project can fall victim to the same questionable standards,” said Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“We have to prevent a federal agency, in this instance, the Alaska District of the Army Corps of Engineers, from using the regulatory process to effectively prevent the state from fulfilling a constitutional mandate to develop its natural resources.” Continue Reading →

Native Americans seek to stop Rio Tinto, BHP copper mine plan – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – January 13, 2021)

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP are facing fresh opposition from Native American groups over a plan to build an enormous copper mine in Arizona in the United States.

Apache Stronghold, a non-profit group, has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Phoenix to stop the US government from transferring a 980-hectare parcel of land at Oak Flat, Arizona, to the mining giants’ joint venture, Resolution Copper.

Resolution, which is 55 per cent owned by Rio Tinto and 45 per cent owned by rival BHP, says its proposed copper mine has the potential to supply nearly 25 per cent of US copper demand for 40 years. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto looming talks with Mongolia to decide Oyu Tolgoi’s fate – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – January 15, 2021)

The next three to six month will be crucial to the future of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia, as the companies behind the operation engage in talks to find a way to improve the government’s financial benefits from an ongoing underground expansion.

Based on a definitive estimate for the development of the new mine level, announced by Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) last month, the underground section of Oyu Tolgoi will begin production in October 2022. The project will cost $6.75 billion, about $1.4 billion higher than its original estimate, as established in the 2015 agreement.

That deal is commonly known in Mongolia as the “Dubai agreement”, because the nation’s then Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg struck it with former Rio Tinto’s boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques in a Dubai hotel, ending an impasse that had lasted close to three years. Continue Reading →

How a retired Indian professor took on a mining giant – and won (AlJazeera – January 7, 2021)

Thoothukudi, India – She spearheaded a decades-long campaign against a copper smelter over alleged environmental contamination in the south Indian seaside town of Thoothukudi.

Sterlite Copper, the Indian subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, a global mining and metals conglomerate, was forced to shut its plant in 2018, thanks to a sustained and spirited fight led by 67-year-old teacher-turned activist Fatima Babu.

The plant’s shuttering, said Fatima, “has boosted the morale of the townspeople, which is a very very big thing for us”. “But we would want Sterlite to pay for the damage it has done.” Continue Reading →

Chinese companies are betting heavily on Democratic Republic of Congo’s mines – by Jevans Nyabiage (South China Morning Post – December 27, 2020)

Chinese companies are betting big on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s mining industry as copper prices surged to a seven-year high driven by China’s strong recovery and the push for electric cars.

Chinese mineral mining and exploration giant, China Molybdenum Co. (CMOC), cemented its grip on the DRC’s mining industry after it acquired Arizona-based mining company, Freeport-McMoRan’s indirect 95 per cent interest in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt deposit for US$550 million.

The Chinese company said Kisanfu, located in Lualaba province, was one of the world’s largest, highest-grade undeveloped cobalt and copper projects, containing about 6.3 million tonnes of copper and 3.1 million tonnes of cobalt. Continue Reading →

Mongolia may revoke Rio Tinto’s plan for Oyu Tolgoi – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – January 11, 2021)

The Government of Mongolia may cancel and replace the development and financial plan for the country’s vast Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, Canada’s Turquoise Hill (TSX, NYSE: TRQ) said on Monday.

The Rio Tinto-controlled company said Mongolian authorities are dissatisfied with the top miner’s plans. They are particularly concerned about the costs of the expansion, recently updated to $6.75 billion, about $1.5 billion higher than its original estimate.

Mongolia believes the significant cost increase has eroded the economic benefits it expected to receive from the Oyu Tolgoi mine, Turquoise Hill said. Continue Reading →

SolGold boss wants to end the brawl with BHP and Newcrest – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – January 6, 2021)

SolGold managing director Nicholas Mather wants to repair his fractured relationship with BHP and Newcrest Mining after an acrimonious year that culminated in a massive protest vote against his re-election to the board of the high-profile copper explorer.

BHP and Newcrest both own more than 13 per cent of SolGold and last year made public their respective concerns about Mr Mather’s approach to governance and funding of the Brisbane-based company, which has discovered several prospective copper and gold targets in Ecuador.

BHP and Newcrest were not the only SolGold shareholders with concerns about Mr Mather, with 44.7 per cent of the company’s register voting against his re-election to the SolGold board shortly before Christmas. Continue Reading →

Rio TNT 2: Campaigners warn Mining giant which destroyed Aboriginal site is about to do same again to a sacred Native American tribe – by Francesca Washtell (Daily Mail/This Is Money – January 5, 2021)

The new boss of Rio Tinto is under pressure to scrap controversial plans for a mine in Arizona that would destroy an area sacred to Native Americans.

Campaigners warn it could be a repeat of a scandal in Australia that threw the firm into crisis. Rio sparked global outrage after it blew up two 46,000-year-old Aboriginal caves in the Juukan Gorge to expand an iron ore mine in May last year.

Within months its chief executive, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, and two other top bosses had been forced to resign. Continue Reading →

Top ten copper mines that stand to benefit in 2021 – by Vladimir Basov (Kitco News – December 31, 2021)

As investors looks past COVID-19 and anticipate a rosier economy in 2021, copper finished the year on an up note. In mid-December the red metal topped at $7,964 a tonne, an eight-year high.

Goldman Sachs is bullish. Its analysts say the current copper bull run could continue well into 2022, and the firm estimates that the metal is likely to hit $10,000 per tonne for only the second time in its history.

Metals strategist Nicholas Snowdon said “This current price strength is not an irrational aberration, rather we view it as the first leg of a structural bull market in copper.” But can copper mines keep up and what are the sources of new supply? Continue Reading →

What Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks mean for northern Minnesota’s Twin Metals mining project – by Walker Orenstein (MinnPost – January 4, 2021)

In 2016, the administration of Barack Obama halted a controversial mining project near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. President Trump revived it once he took office.

What will President-elect Joe Biden do? Since his campaign for president began, Biden hasn’t said anything about the Twin Metals Minnesota proposal, but two of Biden’s Cabinet picks may offer the best hint yet.

The president-elect chose Tom Vilsack, who was secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Obama, to return to the job. The USDA oversees the Forest Service, which manages the Superior National Forest, where Twin Metals wants to mine. Continue Reading →

Freeport CEO Sees Banner Years Ahead After Gains Won in ‘Battle’ – by Steven Frank (Bloomberg News – December 16, 2020)

With a tumultuous decade almost behind him and the prospect of banner years ahead, the longtime boss of global miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc. has little interest in retiring just as cash looks set to roll in.

“Our Freeport family, our Freeport team, has gone to battle together,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson, 73, said Tuesday in a phone interview. “We’re within real close line of sight to having the kind of great success that we worked so long for.”

Such success will be underpinned by a production boost after a disruptive year at the company’s mines. Adkerson expects copper volumes to expand by 20% and gold by 70% next year, with rising outputs lowering costs. Continue Reading →

Copper Miner SolGold Faces Rebellion From Top Shareholders – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – December 16, 2020)

SolGold Plc faces a possible shareholder revolt as the mining heavyweights that backed the company and its huge Ecuadorian copper deposit grow increasingly frustrated by the management’s decisions.

BHP Group is SolGold’s biggest shareholder and Australian gold major Newcrest Mining Ltd. is No. 2, having both positioned themselves for a seat at the table when it’s time to finance and build the project.

Neither was pleased with SolGold’s decision earlier this year to sell a royalty stream — while the deal provided funding, it meant giving up a piece of future profits. The company has also faced setbacks in its mine-planning process. Continue Reading →

Rio’s $6.75bn Oyu Tolgoi expansion to kick off production in 2022 – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 16, 2020)

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE:RIO) unveiled on Wednesday that underground production from the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia is slated to begin in October 2022, adding that it will come with a price tag of $6.75 billion.

When it was approved in 2015, Rio expected the expansion to cost $5.3 billion and reach first sustainable production in early of 2021.

Last year, however, the company flagged stability risks associated with the original project design, which translated into as much as an additional $1.9 billion cost. Expected production was then moved to between October 2022 and July 2023. Continue Reading →

World’s largest copper miner to cut 70% of emissions by 2030 – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – December 14, 2020)

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, has outlined sustainability plans in five areas of action for its operations and projects, including goals to cut carbon emissions by 70%, reduce inland water consumption by 60% and recycling 65% of its industrial waste by 2030.

The state-owned miner, which in 2017 planned to sell “green copper” at a premium price to customers using more sustainable practices like renewable energy, now favours a broader initiative.

The plan, centred around five key points, seeks to reduce around three quarters of the company’s carbon emissions by creating what it calls a “100% clean energy matrix”. Continue Reading →

Teck Resources rebounds 175% from March lows, betting on copper’s blistering rally – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – December 4, 2020)

It was Wednesday afternoon, just hours after new details emerged about U.S. government plans to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine, and there was Teck Resources’ chief executive Don Lindsay citing the news as yet more evidence in support of his company’s strategic shift to copper.

Copper, a metal used in nearly everything from toasters and computers to large construction projects, is trading around a seven-year high on the London Metals Exchange, at US$7,616 per tonne.

Despite a global health pandemic that has left parts of the economy in an indefinite state of freeze, the high price in copper is one indication to industry executives — Lindsay chief among them — that a global economic recovery is under way and that the industrial economy is chugging along. Continue Reading →