Archive | Copper

Birth of a nation? Bougainville’s independence referendum explained – by Kate Lyons (The Guardian – November 19, 2019)

It is a vote that has been 20 years in the making. On Saturday, residents of the remote archipelago in the Solomon Sea will start to decide their future

On Saturday, the people of Bougainville – a small archipelago of islands flung 700km off the coast of Papua New Guinea in the Solomon Sea – will begin voting in a referendum that will determine if their beloved homeland will become the world’s newest nation.

It is a vote that has been nearly 20 years in the making. In 2001, as part of a peace agreement to end a devastating decade-long civil war, the government of Papua New Guinea promised the population of Bougainville, then about 200,000 people, that they would one day be able to cast a vote to decide their future.

The results will be announced in December. It is expected to be overwhelmingly in favour of independence, with some observers anticipating a “yes” vote of more than 90%. But the road to this point has been long and tortured and the path ahead could be just as problematic, even if the result is as emphatic as predicted. Continue Reading →

Barrick seeks to eclipse $1.5 billion asset sales target, eyes more copper (Reuters U.S. – November 18, 2019)

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) is keen to top its $1.5 billion target for asset sales after shedding its half of the Super Pit gold mine in Western Australia, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said on Monday.

Australia’s Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd (SAR.AX) agreed on Monday to buy Barrick’s 50% stake of the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Joint Venture, which operates one of Australia’s largest gold mines, for $750 million.. Newmont Goldcorp Corp (NEM.N) holds the other 50% share.

The deal is a first step in Barrick’s plan to jettison at least $1.5 billion in less-profitable assets by the end of 2020 in the wake of its acquisition of Rangold Resources a year ago. “The number is $1.5 billion to beat,” Bristow said in an interview. “We’re already half way.” Continue Reading →

Copper, cobalt miners urged to do more to fight DRC corruption, child labour practices – by David McKay ( – November 18, 2019)


COMPANIES mining copper and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been urged to do more to fight corruption and child labour, said Bloomberg News citing a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).

Companies should be “proactive about addressing risks, for example by improving working conditions in artisanal mining or taking action to address corruption in their supply chains,” Ben Katz, co-author of the OECD report, said in a statement.

Citing the US Geological Survey, the newswire said the DRC was the world’s largest cobalt producer and the fifth largest producer of copper. As demand for the two minerals has soared with the growth of the electronic and electric-vehicle industries, so have worries about the conditions under which they are mined, it said. Continue Reading →

Hudbay takes $242m Rosemont impairment hit – by Mariaan Webb ( – November 12, 2019)

Canadian miner Hudbay has reported a third-quarter net loss of $274.8-million, reflecting an after-tax impairment loss of $242.1-million on the carrying value of its stalled Rosemont copper project, in the US.

The US District Court has blocked the company from constructing the copper mine in south-eastern Arizona, with the validity of mining claims that would allow for the disposal of waste on public lands adjacent to the operations at the heart of the matter.

Although Hudbay intends to appeal the court ruling, the company explained in its third-quarter results announcement on Monday that the recoverable amount of the Arizona cash generating unit was lower than its carrying value, resulting in an after-tax impairment loss. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto eyes copper deposit north of La Ronge – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 12, 2019)

One of the world’s largest mining companies is spending millions of dollars to look for copper in northern Saskatchewan — and could commit tens of millions more if its engineers and geologists like what the drill rigs uncover.

Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. spent the summer taking core samples at the Janice Lake copper deposit north of La Ronge after signing an option agreement with Forum Energy Metals Corp., which acquired the property in 2017.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto can spend up to $30 million over seven years to acquire an 81 per cent stake in the property, which was staked in the 1960s and bounced between companies before ending up in Forum’s portfolio. Continue Reading →

Column: Funds are starting to turn more bullish on copper – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – November 11, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Whisper it softly, but there are the very first signs that funds are turning more friendly to Doctor Copper. London Metal Exchange (LME) copper has been locked into a sideways trading pattern since the middle of the year with robust internal dynamics swamped by the broader, negative macro story.

Concerns about China’s manufacturing slowdown and the Sino-U.S. trade dispute have manifest themselves in a big fund short position on the CME copper contract since June. That big short, however, has shrunk a lot over the last couple of weeks as the prospect of some sort of trade deal becomes more credible.

London copper, meanwhile, has seen a flurry of interest in the options market with buyers looking for upside exposure next year. This is still a tentative turnaround but it seems as if the money men are starting to look beyond the copper-negative Trump tariffs trade. Continue Reading →

Cost of Ivanhoe’s giant copper project in Congo hits $1.3 billion – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 8, 2019)

Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) said Friday that initial capital costs for its Kakula copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is now estimated at $1.3 billion, and 18% increase over planned costs.

The fresh figure, which includes expanded plant capacity, additional mining fleets and pre-production ore stockpile, will allow the company to begin production at the mine in the third quarter of 2021, Ivanhoe said.

Capacity of Kakula’s processing plant modules increased by 26% in the three months to Sep. 30, from 3 Mtpa to 3.8 Mtpa, significantly boosting projected early-stage copper production, the Toronto-based miner noted. Continue Reading →

Barrick CEO Bristow Sees Long-Term Potential for Freeport Tie-Up – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – November 6, 2019)

Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief said there’s a logic to combining with Freeport-McMoran Inc. as a way to expand into copper, but isn’t committing to any deals yet.

A tie-up with Freeport could bolster Barrick’s U.S. presence, where it already operates gold mines in Nevada, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow, who cautioned that it’s not something currently being considered.

“Everyone has been fingered as a potential suitor of Freeport,” said Bristow, when asked if he was interested in a combination. “There’s a bit of work for us to do before we can get our head around broadening our scope.” Continue Reading →

This Bizarre Law Prevents Poland from Capitalizing on Copper Mine Profits – by Ross Marchand (National Interest – November 5, 2019)

Seventy years strong, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) provides a resilient defense against international threats. But NATO is only as strong as its members are prosperous, and economic policies dictate the state of the union for individual countries. The recent ascension of Macedonia bodes well for NATO as the country has pursued strong, market-based reforms since the ugly collapse of Yugoslavia more than twenty years ago.

But long-standing members such as Poland have run into trouble as misguided government policies threaten to weaken the Eastern European nation. Cronyism and sector-specific onerous taxes threaten to impoverish Poland and make it difficult for vital minerals such as copper to get to market. For the sake of its future and for its allies, Poland must join Macedonia and push for market reforms.

Long-standing threats, such as Jihadi gains in North Africa and Russian encroachments on Eastern Europe, can be held in check by a strong NATO. But as many member-states have come to realize, defense investments can only be sustained on the back of a strong economy. Continue Reading →

COLUMNS: An Economist’s Column: Mining or the environment is a false choice; we can have both – by John Phelan (Duluth News Tribune – November 1, 2019)

In a column on Twin Metals’ planned sulfide ore copper mine (Local View: “Arrowhead better served without mineral leases,” Oct. 20), local economist Kris Hallberg wrote, “On the surface, the controversy appears to be a fight between two competing priorities: jobs versus environmental protection. But a closer look at the current economy of the region and the changing nature of rural economic development tells a different story.”

Hallberg was right that the debate is usually presented as this choice. However, as we at the Center of the American Experiment showed in our 2018 report, “Unearthing Prosperity: How Environmentally Responsible Mining Will Boost Minnesota’s Economy,” it is a false choice.

Sulfide ore copper mining can be done in an environmentally sustainable way. Sadly, despite her awareness of this trap, Hallberg fell into it herself. Continue Reading →

The Copper Market Is So Bleak Miners Are Turning to the Gospel – by Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – October 31, 2019)

The mood in base-metals markets has turned so miserable that copper-mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. turned to a local gospel choir to add some cheer as the industry gathers in London.

Freeport put in a last-minute call for the group to help Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson wind down the week on a high note. Together, they entertained attendees at a dinner hosted by the company Wednesday with uplifting renditions of classics including “O-o-h Child” and “Oh Happy Day.”

For traders, miners and investors attending LME Week this year, there hasn’t been much else to celebrate, at least in the short term. The mood is a reversal from a year ago, as demand for most metals suffers due to the U.S.-China trade war. Continue Reading →

Minnesota Supreme Court won’t take up copper-nickel mining rules – by Jimmy Lovrien (Duluth News Tribune – October 29, 2019)

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a challenge by environmental groups over the state’s copper-nickel mining rules.

Environmental groups argue the Department of Natural Resources’ rules regulating the mining of metals that do not contain iron — such as copper, nickel and other precious metals — were too vague and, therefore, unenforceable. The DNR maintains the rules were strong yet flexible.

But in August, Minnesota Court of Appeals unanimously upheld those rules, and called the DNR’s non-ferrous rules “valid.” Six environment groups had filed the original appeal, but only two groups, the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case after the Court of Appeals upheld the rules. Continue Reading →

Hudbay vows appeal after court affirms Arizona project ruling (Reuters Canada – October 29, 2019)

(Reuters) – Hudbay Minerals on Tuesday vowed to appeal a court ruling that barred the Canadian miner from building a major copper mine in the United States after losing its bid to have a judge revisit the decision.

U.S. District Judge James Soto late on Monday said there was no basis to reconsider an earlier ruling that overturned approvals for the company’s contentious Rosemont project in southeastern Arizona, delivering a setback for Hudbay as it seeks to revive plans for the stalled $1.9 billion open-pit mine.

Hudbay’s director of investor relations, Candace Brule, said the company was disappointed with the decision and would proceed with an appeal as it studies next steps for the project. Continue Reading →

Copper prices seen stifled by growth fears next year: Reuters poll – by Eric Onstad and K. Sathya Narayanan (Reuters U.S. – October 28, 2019)

LONDON/ (Reuters) – Prices of copper and other industrial metals are expected to be capped next year as weak economic growth weighs on the market, a Reuters poll showed.

The London Metal Exchange index of six base metals has inched up only 1% so far this year, held back by worries about a possible global recession and a trade war between the United States and top metals consumer China.

But the average is deceptive, because sharp gains for nickel of over 50% cover the fact that half of the metals are in the red, with losses of up to 15%. Continue Reading →

Ecuador says ready to ship first big copper export within weeks (Reuters U.S. – October 28, 2019)

MELBOURNE, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Ecuador plans to ship its first large copper cargo within weeks, a milestone in its ambitions to evolve from exploration hotspot to copper exporter.

The El Mirador copper mine, owned by a unit of the Chinese consortium CRCC-Tongguan, started operations in July but the the company imposed some restrictions in October as a precautionary measure to protect workers amid unrest over the government’s austerity plan.

The company has resumed normal operations and was readying its first shipment for Nov. 14, Vice Minister of Mines Fernando Benalcazar told Reuters on the sidelines of the Imarc mining conference in Melbourne. Continue Reading →