Archive | Copper

Chinese Firms Position For An Energy Transition Copper Supercycle – by Jacob Koelsch, Michelle Michot Foss, Gabriel Collins, and Steven Lewis (Forbes Magazine – April 5, 2021)

If China’s dominance of rare earth element supplies is the global energy transition’s “elephant in the room”, then copper is the 800-pound gorilla. China’s push for outbound investment, with attendant strategic nuances, are a hallmark of emerging concerns about raw materials supply chains.

Chinese firms recognize copper’s value from at least four perspectives. First, relative to internal industrial demand, China’s domestic production is inadequate.

Second, as Chinese outbound investment has evolved to procure supply, they also are positioning themselves to capture international commodity trading opportunities. Continue Reading →

Canadian copper miner Turquoise Hill declares force majeure on some Chinese contracts – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 31, 2021)

Canadian copper miner Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. is invoking force majeure related to its Chinese contracts for metal shipments from its Mongolian mine, amid COVID-19 border restrictions, and several employees testing positive for the deadly virus.

Force majeure is a clause that allows companies to limit certain legal liabilities in the face of an unforeseen catastrophe, such as a once-in-a-century pandemic.

The Montreal-based miner operates the Oyo Tolgoi copper and gold complex in Mongolia, a landlocked country in Asia that borders Russia to the north, and China to the south. Continue Reading →

Chile Lawmakers Want a Bigger Share of the Copper Windfall – by James Attwood and Tom Azzopardi (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – March 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Chile’s lower house approved a proposed royalty on copper and lithium sales as lawmakers seek a bigger contribution from some of the world’s top producers toward social and environmental projects.

The proposal, which was introduced in 2018 by opposition lawmakers and has gained momentum amid rallying metal prices, will go back to committees after some representatives sought modifications. The bill has yet to pass through senate.

A 3% tax on copper and lithium produced by companies such as BHP Group and Albemarle Corp. would fund regional development projects, responding to the rising social and environmental standards of investors and supply chains. Continue Reading →

Class action against Rio Tinto over Oyu Tolgoi escalates – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 25, 2021)

A new claim filed in a US court on Thursday over Rio Tinto’s (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) handling of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine expansion in Mongolia accuses the mining giant of concealing the real cause of the delays that have held back its most important growth project.

In a 163-page claim filed in New York, Pentwater Capital Management — the second-largest shareholder in Rio-controlled Turquoise Hill (TSX, NYSE: TRQ) — has included the testimony of 12 individuals who worked for Rio or its contractors and which could tip the balance against the miner.

The document cites defective Chinese steel, incompetent engineering and poor procurement as some of the “true” reasons behind the mine expansion’s massive cost increase and delays. Continue Reading →

Marathon plans to reap the benefits from palladium, copper mine – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 17, 2021)

The Town of Marathon is banking on preparation paying off. A proposed open-pit mine on the outskirts of the north shore community of 3,300 could attract as many as 2,000 people over the next two to three years.

Earlier this month, Toronto’s Generation Mining released a positive feasibility study of its Marathon Palladium and Copper Project, projecting a 13-year mine life with an aggressive timeline to begin mining by 2024.

The $1-billion development is expected to bring 1,100 construction jobs to town, employ close to 400 miners when in operation, and generate many more indirect and spinoff positions. Continue Reading →

The World Will Need 10 Million Tons More Copper to Meet Demand – by James Attwood (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – March 19, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Within a decade, the world may face a massive shortfall of what’s arguably the most critical metal for global economies: copper.

The copper industry needs to spend upwards of $100 billion to close what could be an annual supply deficit of 4.7 million metric tons by 2030 as the clean power and transport sectors take off, according to estimates from CRU Group.

The potential shortfall could reach 10 million tons if no mines get built, according to commodities trader Trafigura Group. Closing such a gap would require building the equivalent of eight projects the size of BHP Group’s giant Escondida in Chile, the world’s largest copper mine. Continue Reading →

Argentine President Targeted by Mob Fighting to Keep Out Mines – by Jonathan Gilbert (Bloomberg News – March 15, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Argentine President Alberto Fernandez had to dodge protesters to get onto a minibus that was then pelted with stones as environmentalists battle a move to give mining the green light in Chubut.

In the Patagonian province to check on efforts to extinguish forest fires, Fernandez was caught off guard as protesters seized the opportunity to take their objection to precious-metal mining to the very top of government.

The latest twist in a yearslong conflict shines a light on a growing challenge for mining companies around the world as environmental, social and governance expectations rise among investors, regulators and the general public. Continue Reading →

Entire villages would be wiped out if natural disaster hit dam on PNG mine, critics say – by Lyanne Togiba and Ben Doherty (The Guardian – March 14, 2021)

A proposed dam to hold billions of tonnes of mine waste near the head of Papua New Guinea’s longest river is a potential environmental disaster that could wipe out entire villages if there was a natural disaster, government officials, environmental advocacy groups and villagers living along the river say.

The Frieda River gold and copper mine – slated for development by Chinese state-owned, Australian-based miner PanAust for northern New Guinea island – would be the largest mine in PNG’s history, and one of the biggest in the world.

Part of the mine’s proposal would be a 12,000ha reservoir built to hold more than 4.6bn tonnes of waste rock and mine tailings. The reservoir would hold 9.6bn cubic metres of water – twice the size of Sydney harbour – and the embankment built to hold it would be 187 metres high. Continue Reading →

BHP moves exploration team to Toronto to grow copper, nickel pipeline – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 11, 2021)

BHP (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP) is moving its exploration headquarters to Toronto, Canada’s most populous city, as it looks to growth its pipeline of “green metals” projects, particularly copper and nickel.

The move, announced by chief technical officer Laura Tyler, follows the world’s largest miner’s decision to partner with Midland Exploration (TSX-V: MD) in August last year to explore for nickel in northern Quebec.

Both copper and nickel have taken the centre stage in the “green revolution”, as they are vital metals needed for EVs, battery storage, charging stations and related grid infrastructure. Continue Reading →

BHP moves nickel and copper HQ to Toronto as Canada emerges as new clean-tech mining hotspot – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – March 10, 2021)

Both metals expected to see increased future demand due to electric vehicle industry growth

Australia’s BHP Group Ltd. is moving its exploration headquarters for nickel and copper — two metals expected to see increased future demand because of electric vehicle industry growth — to Toronto.

The company’s announcement Wednesday comes after a BHP subsidiary Rio Algom Ltd. struck a partnership in August with Canadian junior Midland Exploration Inc. to fund nickel exploration in northern Quebec.

The company has also been exploring for copper in Canada, on and off for years, Laura Tyler, BHP’s chief technical officer, told the Financial Post. But as climate change alters global commodity consumption patterns, she said nickel and copper demand are set to surge, leading the company to reevaluate where to put its people and resources. Continue Reading →

Gold still looks good, but copper and oil look better – USBWM – by Neils Christensen (Kitco News – March 9, 2021)

(Kitco News) – With equity markets back at record valuations and bond yields holding above 1.5%, investors appear to be pricing in perfection when it comes to a robust economic recovery. However, according to one market strategist, this could be good for gold.

In a recent telephone interview with Kitco News, Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said that there is a lot of optimism in the marketplace due to expectations of a faster-than-expected economic recovery.

However, if there are any issues with the continued rollout of vaccines or hiccups with economic activity, that sentiment could quickly sour and drive gold prices higher. Continue Reading →

Green Revolution Gets More Expensive as Copper Price Surges – by Rachel Morison and William Mathis (Bloomberg News – March 4, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Look just beneath the surface of many of the technologies powering the energy transition and there’s a red metallic glint. Copper is a vital part of green infrastructure from grids to wind turbines, and a recent price surge threatens to make decarbonization more costly.

Copper has doubled from the lows seen a year ago and is near a nine-year high. Amid predictions of a new commodity supercycle kicking off, many analysts say the top hasn’t yet been reached for a metal that’s core to the green energy drive.

Demand from renewable power generation, battery storage, electric vehicles, charging stations and related grid infrastructure accounts for about a fifth of copper consumption, according to Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Continue Reading →

Turquoise Hill CEO exits amid tension with Rio Tinto over funding Mongolian copper mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 4, 2021)

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.’s chief executive officer Ulf Quellmann has resigned after months of tension between the company and Rio Tinto, its biggest shareholder, over a funding plan for its troubled Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.

The Montreal-based company and London-based Rio, one of the world’s biggest diversified miners, have clashed over how the construction of the giant underground copper mine should be funded.

In a statement, Turquoise Hill said that Rio had said it would vote against Ulf Quellmann in the upcoming annual general meeting. In light of that development, the company and Mr. Quellmann felt it was in their best interests that he resign. Continue Reading →

Rio and Mongolia agree to replace $7bn plan to expand copper mine – by Khaliun Bayartsogt (Nikkei Asia – March 1, 2021)

ULAANBAATAR — After weeks of escalating tensions and leadership turmoil, Mongolia and Rio Tinto have agreed to work out a new arrangement to finance the costly expansion of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, Nikkei Asia has learned.

The rising cost of the new underground phase of the mine, one of the world’s biggest copper deposits, played a role in bringing down both Mongolia’s previous prime minister and Rio’s last chief executive. This appears to have helped set the stage for changing the terms of how the two co-owners of the project will share the expense.

Public irritation has been running high in Mongolia after new figures emerged late last year showing that the government could not expect to start receiving dividends from its 34% ownership of the mine in 2032 as originally expected. Continue Reading →

Minnesota Supreme Court issues mixed opinion on PolyMet’s air permits – by Jimmy Lovrien (Duluth News Tribune – Feb 24th 2021)

Questions persist over a March 2018 report outlining potential expansion plans.

On one hand, the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court’s decision that would have sent PolyMet’s air permits back to state regulators for further review.

But on the other, it instructed a lower court to review whether PolyMet, which is trying to open the state’s first copper-nickel mine, deceived the regulators by withholding a report outlining the potential for a much larger mine.

Both opponents and supporters of PolyMet claimed victory in Wednesday’s Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Margaret Chutich. Continue Reading →