Archive | Copper

Is B.C. entering a new golden age for copper? – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – February 5, 2019)

Province has good copper exploration potential, but success is very much a long game

Even those who don’t follow mining or invest in it could probably tell you that a global energy transition will mean the world is going to need a lot more copper.

B.C. is Canada’s largest copper producer, with six operating mines and a couple of dozen projects at the early or late exploration stage that could become new mines one day. So is copper golden in B.C.?

Judging by presentations made last week at the annual Association for Mineral Exploration Roundup conference, at a panel called “The B.C. Copper Advantage,” the answer is “Yes, but.” Continue Reading →

Column: Scrap remains the wild card in China’s copper imports – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – January 30, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – China set a new record last year in terms of how much copper it sucked in from the rest of the world. Imports of refined metal reached 3.75 million tonnes, up 16 percent from 2017 and eclipsing the previous high of 3.68 million tonnes registered in 2015.

The strength of China’s import appetite is surprising given the country’s own refined copper production surged by 8 percent to just over 9.0 million tonnes in 2018. New smelting and refining capacity continues to be built and there was no shortage of mined concentrates to feed it last year thanks to a robust performance by the world’s copper mines.

China also imported more copper concentrates than ever before, close to 20 million tonnes in gross weight terms. In part, the explanation for China’s increased call on units from the rest of the world is one of simple restocking after relatively weak imports in 2017. Continue Reading →

Mongolia, overseas investigators probe Oyu Tolgoi corruption claims as ex-minister re-arrested – by Munkhchimeg Davaasharav and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – January 29, 2019)

ULAANBAATAR/LONDON (Reuters) – Mongolia is working with overseas investigators to look into claims of corruption at its giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, the country’s anti-graft body said on Tuesday, after the re-arrest of a former minister suspected of “abuse of power”.

Bayartsogt Sangajav was first arrested last April and released in June in a probe into 2009 negotiations over the development of the mine, then owned by Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines and now managed by Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto. Bayartsogt, a former finance minister, was among the signatories to the investment agreement, approved by Mongolia’s parliament.

Munkhtungalag Tumur, a spokeswoman with the country’s Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC), told Reuters it was now conducting a thorough financial investigation into the allegations that would be international in scope. She did not identify with which other countries the IAAC was collaborating. Continue Reading →

U.S. copper projects gain steam thanks to electric vehicle trend – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters Canada – January 24, 2019)

YERINGTON, Nev. (Reuters) – Once seen as a laggard in the global mining industry, U.S. copper deposits have quietly drawn more than $1.1 billion in investments from small and large miners alike as Tesla and other electric carmakers scramble for more of the red metal.

Four U.S. copper projects are set to open by next year – the first to come online in more than a decade – with several mine expansions also underway across the country, home to the world’s fifth-largest copper reserves, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The rising popularity of electric vehicles – which use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines – and increasingly pro-mining policies in the U.S. while other nations exert greater control over their mineral deposits are fueling the spending, according to mining executives and investors. Continue Reading →

Barrick CEO on Zambia tax dispute: Threats don’t solve problems (BNN Bloomberg – January 25, 2019)

Barrick Gold Corp.’s new chief executive officer, Mark Bristow, said his company is seeking solutions to a dispute over mining taxes in Zambia.

“We’re engaged with the government in a constructive way,” he told reporters at a press conference in the Ivory Coast’s economic capital, Abidjan. “We don’t believe that threatening one’s partner is a constructive way to go about solving problems.”

Mining companies in Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, have warned that the tax hikes will harm the industry and some producers have said they’ll curtail operations as a result of the changes. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. in December said it would cut 2,500 jobs in the country, before backtracking this week on the plan. Continue Reading →

BHP second-quarter iron ore output down 9 percent, flags $600 million negative impact (Reuters U.S. – January 21, 2019)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Group said on Tuesday its second-quarter iron ore production fell 9 percent and flagged a $600 million negative impact due to production disruptions at its copper and iron ore operations.

The world’s biggest miner said unplanned production outages at Olympic Dam, Spence and Western Australia Iron Ore are likely to negatively impact productivity and flagged that it would revise guidance at its results on Feb 19.

The miner also raised its 2019 copper production forecast to between about 1.6 million tonne and 1.7 million tonne bolstered by the retention of Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile, after a sale to private equity house EMR Capital fell through. Continue Reading →

Vale in it for the long haul, says COO: Ricus Grimbeek talks future of nickel mining – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – January 11, 2019)

The mining industry is rapidly moving toward digital technology, and Sudbury could be at the heart of it with careful planning, said Vale’s Ricus Grimbeek. The chief operating officer for Canada, the U.K, and Asian refineries was the guest speaker at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce President’s Luncheon Series on Jan. 10 at the Radisson hotel.

His message was clear: Vale has a decades-long plan to stay in the region, as well as help the city become the global hub of digital mining as it transforms the industry.

“I was talking to somebody and they said they thought there was maybe five good years of mining left here, and asked what I thought and I said, no,” he said. “They asked if it was less or more.” For Vale, he said the mining company is looking at at least 20 to 30 more years of production in the basin alone. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Indonesia forecasts drop in Grasberg copper concentrate exports in 2019 – by Bernadette Christina Munthe (Reuters U.S. – January 9, 2019)

JAKARTA, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Copper concentrate exports from Indonesia’s Grasberg mine, the world’s second-largest copper mine, are forecast to plunge this year because of a lag in output as operations move from open pit to underground mining, a government official said on Wednesday.

In 2019, copper concentrate exports are expected to drop to 200,000 tonnes from about 1.2 million tonnes last year, said Yunus Saefulhak, the director of minerals at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.

Grasberg’s operator, U.S. miner Freeport McMoRan Inc , has documented the output decline, which is the result of the switch from the depleting open pit mine early this year but before a massive expansion of a coexisting underground mine ramps up to full production. Continue Reading →

Chile’s Collahuasi plans resource sharing with Canada’s Teck Resources – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters Canada – January 9, 2019)

(Reuters) – Chile’s Collahuasi copper mine is talking to Canada’s Teck Resources Ltd (TECKb.TO) about resource-sharing as the two companies embark on ambitious expansion projects, its Chief Executive Jorge Gomez said on Wednesday.

Collahuasi – owned by Glencore (GLEN.L) and Anglo American (AAL.L) – is seeking “synergies” with companies with operations close to its own mine in the Tarapaca area on the border with Bolivia, Gomez said, principal among them Teck.

These include sharing pipe and power lines and maritime facilities, as well as potentially sharing desalinated water in an area where water shortages are increasingly becoming an issue, he added. Continue Reading →

Africa, South America to drive copper mine capacity growth up to 2021 – ICSG – by Marleny Arnoldi ( – January 7, 2019)

The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) expects copper mine capacity to grow at an average rate of 2.2% a year up to 2021.

The ICSG notes in its biannual ‘Directory of Copper Mines and Plants’ that the average is derived from the lower growth of about 0.5% seen in 2018/19 as compared to growth of 4% expected in 2020/21 when more projects and expansions come on stream. Concentrates represent around 85% of the total growth in world mine copper capacity until 2021.

The ICSG anticipates 31% of world copper mine capacity growth to 2021 to come from ramp-up and expansions of existing operating mines, 56% from mines that are currently under development and 13% from projects that are currently under feasibility study. Continue Reading →

Imperial Metals suspends operations at Mount Polley mine because of declining copper prices (Canadian Press – January 7, 2019)

Imperial Metals Corp. says it is suspending operations at its Mount Polley mine in south-central British Columbia due to declining copper prices.

The gold and copper mine was the site of a 2014 tailings dam collapse that was one of the largest environmental disasters in the province’s history. Imperial Metals said in a news release Monday that the suspension plan includes milling of low grade stockpiles which is expected to extend operations to the end of May 2019.

There will be no impact to the mine’s ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation program, it said. “Full operations will resume once the economics of mining at Mount Polley improve,” it said.The company did not immediately respond to a request for more details, including how many jobs would be affected by the suspension of operations at the mine northeast of Williams Lake, B.C. Continue Reading →

Deep in a Panama Rainforest, First Quantum Bondholders Spy Prize – by Paula Sambo and Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – January 8, 2019)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is poised to fire up a giant copper project in Panama, thousands of miles from its beleaguered mines in Zambia. For bondholders, that’s a welcome distance.

The Canadian copper company is ramping up production at the Cobre Panama plant this year, even as a mining tax hike forces it to shed jobs and cut production at its Zambian facilities. With Panama slated to become a more prominent place of operations, bondholders should benefit as Panama’s stronger credit rating feeds into the debt’s prices, First Quantum President Clive Newall said in an interview.

Where First Quantum does significant business matters to bondholders who closely follow risks associated with lending to companies operating in that particular country. Panama has an investment-grade rating, while Zambia is ranked more deeply into junk. Continue Reading →

Ecuador’s rising opposition to mining may thwart exploration boom – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – January 6, 2019)

Ecuador, one of the hottest destinations for copper prospectors, aims to more than double the value of mining to its economy by 2021, but projects risks delays and potential halts due to growing local opposition to the extraction of the country’s resources.

According to the latest report by Fitch Solutions Macro Research, the ongoing expansion of mining exploration in the South American country is raising the risk of tensions between companies and the local population.

In two landmark cases last year, Ecuadorian courts sided with rural and indigenous communities who argued the national government had failed to inform them it was setting aside parts of their territories for mineral exploitation. That, Fitch Solutions notes, is a right protected by the 2008 Constitution. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto, Mongolia sign power deal for Oyu Tolgoi copper mine – by Barbara Lewis and Munkhchimeg Davaasharav (Reuters U.S. – December 31, 2018)

LONDON/ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Rio Tinto and Mongolia have signed a deal for the supply of power to the miner’s giant copper mine extension at Oyu Tolgoi by mid-2023, with both sides saying the framework agreement marked a step forward after a protracted dispute.

The Oyu Tolgoi project is central to Rio Tinto’s push to diversify its portfolio away from iron ore, but it has faced a series of challenges as Mongolia’s fragile government wrangles over how to maximize benefits for the country.

First production at the $5.3 billion underground expansion located near the southern border with China is scheduled for early next decade, creating one of the world’s biggest copper suppliers. Continue Reading →

Why Southern Arizona needs the Rosemont Mine – by Rick Grinnell and Bill Assenmacher (Arizona Daily Star – January 6, 2019)

Bill Assenmacher is president and Rick Grinnell is vice president of the Southern Arizona Business Coalition, a pro-mining organization.

We are writing in response to the Dec. 9 guest opinion column, “Rosemont mine would bring devastation to Southern Arizona” by Tohono O’odham Chairman Edward D. Manuel and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias.

We are with the Southern Arizona Business Coalition (SABC), which was formed to support the responsible development of new, expanding and relocating industries with an emphasis on mining and related technology here in Southern Arizona and around the state.

The headline begins with a very unfitting and disingenuous representation of the Rosemont Copper project being developed by Hudbay Minerals. There is no sound scientific evidence being presented by the authors to support their inflammatory rhetoric. Continue Reading →