Investors bid up Inmet as copper mine battle looms – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – November 30, 2012)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Investors are betting on a battle for Inmet Mining Corp. to control the coveted Cobre Panama project in Central America, one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper plays.

Inmet shares have catapulted 23 per cent in the two tradings sessions since the company disclosed it received and promptly rejected two takeover offers in the past month from First Quantum Minerals Ltd., one of Canada’s largest copper miners.

Inmet also said it adopted a shareholder rights plan, known as a poison pill, but said that was not meant to prevent takeovers so much as give it time to consider options in the event of a hostile bid.

“I think they are effectively saying we’re probably for sale at the right price,” said Terry Thib, a portfolio manager with Norrep Funds in Toronto that holds Inmet shares. “From my perspective, I’m kind of thinking something north of $80 might get it done; shareholders might be happy with that.”

First Quantum’s latest cash-and-stock bid valued Inmet at $4.9-billion, or $70 a share. Its shares traded up nearly 6 per cent on Thursday to $65.50. Before the bids were made public, Inmet was trading at $52.80.

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Inmet rejects First Quantum takeover bid – by Peter Koven (National Post – November 29, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

TORONTO — First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has offered $4.9-billion for Inmet Mining Corp. in a bold attempt to get its hands on Cobre Panama, one of the largest mining development projects underway anywhere in the world.

The move puts Inmet’s immediate future into question, as the company is now in play and senior copper miners are certain to take a closer look at Cobre Panama.

Toronto-based Inmet owns 80% of Cobre Panama, and it is a monster. The project holds 32 billion pounds of copper reserves and nine million ounces of gold reserves (along with huge inferred resources), and has a likely mine life of more than 30 years. It also comes with enormous risk: The current cost estimate is US$6.2-billion, and Panama has no history of large-scale mining.

Construction of Cobre Panama has just started, and analysts suggested that if First Quantum has its own development plan for the mine, it needs to get in quickly. First Quantum is recognized for having a strong technical team.

“I see a fit in the sense that [First Quantum] management has been very experienced in building four grassroots projects on time and within reasonable budgets, and also operating in what I would call politically sensitive areas in Central Africa,” said John Hughes, an analyst at Desjardins Securities.

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Inmet Mining snubs $4.9-billion takeover bid by First Quantum – by Pav Jordan and Tim Kiladze (Globe and Mail – November 29, 2012)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. offered $4.9-billion to acquire Inmet Mining Corp., a bold declaration from one of Canada’s largest copper miners that the commodities supercycle has room to run.

Inmet rejected the bid, describing it as “highly conditional” and not in shareholders’ interests, but analysts said First Quantum could return with a higher offer for one of the world’s largest copper projects in development.

Toronto-based Inmet is developing the $6.2-billion (U.S.) Cobre Panama project that will produce some 300,000 tonnes of copper a year for 30 years, putting it on a scale with major mines in Chile and Peru, the world’s largest producers of the metal.

Inmet revealed that it was the second offer from First Quantum in a month, underscoring global miners’ convictions that copper demand will remain strong into the future, despite slowing growth in China and other major markets. Copper has been one of the most in-demand commodities of the past decade, driven by breakneck development in China as it built power grids and entire cities in its urbanization drive.

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Copper Mountain Tempts With Canadian Stability: Real M&A – by Tara Lachapelle and Brooke Sutherland (Blomberg.com – November 26, 2012)

http://www.bloomberg.com/

pper Mountain Mining Corp. (CUM) is offering buyers a potentially irresistible combination: the cheapest valuation in three years and the ability to extract metal without the threat of civil unrest in such places as Indonesia and Peru.

Lower-than-estimated copper production drove the company’s price-earnings ratio down to 16.7 in October, the cheapest since 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Copper Mountain has tumbled 43 percent since this year’s peak, giving the business the lowest price-sales multiple using estimated 2012 revenue among Canadian base metals stocks with a market value exceeding C$250 million ($252 million), the data show.

The location of Copper Mountain’s main mining project in British Columbia may prove alluring to acquirers seeking assets where there’s low risk of social disorder, Laurentian Bank of Canada said. While initial copper production levels were disappointing after extraction began in 2011, the Vancouver- based company seems to have turned the situation around and a buyer should strike now before Copper Mountain’s shares rebound, according to Haywood Securities Inc. Jennings Capital Inc. said companies such as Teck Resources Ltd. (TCK/B) could offer C$8 a share in a deal, more than double yesterday’s close.

“There’s a lot of reasons why it would be attractive to potential acquirers,” Adam Low, a Toronto-based analyst at Raymond James Financial Inc., said in a telephone interview.

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Xstrata plea for ONTC – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – November 27, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Xstrata Copper is seeking the city’s support in ensuring freight rail service to the mine is maintained in light of the province’s plan to sell the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

In a presentation to Timmins council Monday, Tom Semadeni, general manager of Kidd Operations, identified the divestiture of the ONTC and its potential impact on freight rail service as a possible challenge in the future. Semadeni said city council could “help us in term of lobby efforts … to make sure they maintain service.”

He said trucking the material would be more costly to the company and more damaging to the roads. Coun. Gary Scripnick said hearing these concerns directly from mine management should be helpful in any future discussions Mayor Tom Laughren has with provincial ministers.

He said it is important for the mayor to be able to report what mining officials are telling him. Other areas of concern expressed by Semadeni included high energy costs and the limited availability of housing in Timmins.

He said Xstrata Copper has hired close to 550 in the last five years and as a result has experienced the challenges associated with the housing shortage first-hand.

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Financing in place for Broken Hammer [Sudbury] project, says miner – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – November 21, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Lively-based Wallbridge Mining Company Limited announced Tuesday it has secured financing to help develop its promising Broken Hammer Project, located north of Capreol.

The company said Callinan Royalties has agreed to provide Wallbridge with a line of credit for $2 million. In addition, Callinan will purchase 8,333,333 units of Wallbridge, at a price of $0.18 per unit, for gross proceeds of $1.5 million, subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“We are pleased to have entered into this transaction with Callinan, a reputable royalty firm, for two reasons,” Marz Kord, president and CEO of Wallbridge, said in a release. “First, this new capital injection allows Wallbridge to accelerate the development plans for the Broken Hammer Project without significant equity dilution.

“Secondly, Callinan’s interest in financing the corporation at a premium to the current market in return for the option to purchase royalties on our 100%-owned Sudbury properties underscores the inherent value in these exploration assets, as well as broadening our already strong shareholder base.

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Teck makes cuts amid global tumult – by Pav Jordan and Carrie Tait (Globe and Mail – October 25, 2012)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

TORONTO, CALGARY – Canada’s largest diversified miner is cutting back in the face of a global economic slowdown.

Buffeted by volatile markets for the commodities it produces, Teck Resources Ltd. is deferring some $1.5-billion in capital spending over the next year or so, the latest in a string of Canadian resource companies to rewrite its plans in response to rising costs and an unpredictable outlook for the economy.

Among the casualties announced was Fort Hills, an oil sands joint venture in which Teck is a 20-per-cent partner along with Suncor Energy Inc. and Total SA. The project is not scheduled to begin producing oil until after 2017, but now some of the pre-production work will occur at a slower pace.

Canadian mining companies are increasingly joining the ranks of resource businesses that are being forced to rethink capital spending as the demand drops for key industrial commodities. The commodities cycle is sputtering along with the economies of the United States and Europe and as growth slows in China.

Suncor said in July that it was reevaluating tens of billions of dollars of planned spending, and pledged to apply “rigorous scrutiny” to the cost of three projects, including Fort Hills.

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Study finds [Sudbury’s Wallbridge Mining] Broken Hammer has potential to be viable – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – October 23, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Wallbridge Mining Company Ltd. has released what it’s calling positive results on studies conducted on its Broken Hammer copper and platinum group metal project in Sudbury.

“We are very encouraged by the positive results of the pre-feasibility study,” Marz Kord, president and CEO of Wall-bridge Mining, said in a release.

“The pre-feasibility suggests that the Broken Hammer project has the potential to become economically viable and generate positive cash flow. What’s more encouraging is that the deposit remains open for expansion to the west and to depth.

“The footwall-style Broken Hammer project is in a large land package on the northern rim of the Sudbury basin within a 9 km strike length of very similar geology with extremely strong prospects.”

The Broken Hammer project, located north of Capreol, is planned to be an open pit operation used for the extraction of about 196,000 tonnes of copper, nickel and platinum group metals.

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Why the metal industry is getting harder – by By David Garofalo (Canadian Business Magazine – September 20, 2012)

 http://www.canadianbusiness.com/

David Garofalo is the President and CEO of HudBay Minerals Inc.

The recent conflicts at mines in developing nations—the violence erupting in South Africa, Guatemala, Panama and elsewhere this summer—are unsettling and deplorable. Yet they illustrate the new context for mining companies around the world, which often goes unexplored in mainstream coverage.

The new reality of the global mining industry is that most of the large, high-grade mine operations located in favourable jurisdictions are getting long in the tooth. As production at these mines inevitably declines with time, mining companies are forced to look farther afield for new supply. Since all of the near surface high-grade deposits have been discovered, companies are now looking at more geologically challenging deposits, usually with lower-grade ore. Often, this means considering development opportunities in areas that are not only more complex geologically, but also carry more social and political risks.

Among other things, this explains the chronic deficit in copper supply the world has experienced over the past four years. Average copper production grades have fallen dramatically over the past decade. Simply to maintain output, companies have to process much higher tonnages in order to sustain consistent production. Increased demand from developing economies has created a supply crisis—the term is not too strong.

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Anglo CEO [Cynthia Carroll] Doubles Down on New Mines Amid Falling Demand – by Jeremy Kahn (Bloomberg Markets Magazine – September 2012)

http://www.bloomberg.com/

Driving northeast from Santiago, the road corkscrews toward the shark’s-grin skyline of the Andes Mountains. In winter, Santiago’s smart set plies this route, heading for virgin-powder days and pisco-sour nights at La Parva ski resort. Most have no inkling that in a high mountain valley just over the ridgeline, excavators the size of houses have sculpted the mountainside into a steeply terraced pit 1,800 feet deep, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue.

This is Los Bronces, one of the world’s richest copper mines. Anglo American Plc (AAL), the London-based company that owns Los Bronces, spent $2.8 billion from 2007 to 2011 to double the size of the mine. And Los Bronces is just one of four megaprojects that Anglo Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Carroll has initiated or pushed through construction since she took over in 2007 — each representing a wager in excess of $1 billion on the continued rise of China, India and other emerging markets.

Los Bronces is also at the center of a legal battle between Anglo and Codelco, the Chilean state-owned mining company. The dispute — over whether Anglo can block Codelco from exercising an option to buy half of Anglo’s Chilean subsidiary — has spooked Anglo investors and weighed on the company’s share price, which dropped more than 15 percent from the time the controversy erupted in October to August 8.

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What Makes a Critical Metal “Critical” or a Strategic Element “Strategic”? – by Michael S. Fulp (The Mercenary Geologist – August 6, 2012)

http://www.themercenarygeologist.com/

I was a keynote speaker at the recent Murdock Capital Partners Critical Metals / Strategic Elements Symposium in New York City. This is my second gig at one of convener Tom Dean’s on-going series of symposia and I thank him for continuing support. Although the venue is small, intimate, and limited to 75 attendees, the investor quality is second to none, particularly in the amount of money represented and managed. In my presentation I categorized the metals critical to modern-day civilization and reviewed the minor metals that are increasingly used by society in new technological applications.

Recently a plethora of alternative names have been proposed and promoted for what were once known as the specialty or minor metals. These mostly obscure elements span the gamut from the lightest to the heaviest on the periodic table. In my opinion, analysts and investors alike have become confused by these newly-invented misnomers.

Much of the confusion can be blamed squarely on two recent reports from the United States government.

In December 2010, the US Department of Energy (DOE) produced a report entitled “Critical Metals Strategy”. It identified seven rare earth elements and three minor metals (lithium, indium, and tellurium) that are or could become in high demand and short supply from 2011-2025. The DOE list and analysis was predicated on future growth fueled by Obama’s proposed subsidies of the electric and hybrid vehicle, wind turbine, solar, and fluorescent lighting industries.

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Potential Future Copper Shortages May Impact Industrial Growth – by Ron Thiessen

Based in Vancouver-based Ron Thiessen is CEO of Hunter Dickinson Inc. (HDI) a leading diversified, global mining group with more than 25 years of mineral development success.

There may come a time in the not too distant future when copper will be in shorter supply than the current shortage of rare earth elements (REEs). While this is not the situation today, an examination of the longer-term outlook for copper indicates this scenario might not be so far-fetched.
 
According to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG), a global production deficit of 92,000 metric tonnes was recorded for copper as of January 2012. Furthermore, ICSG estimates that worldwide usage in 2011 increased by 3.2% over the previous year while mine production remained unchanged. Market commentator Jack Lifton says the world has essentially ignored the need for copper, which he calls “the nerves of our civilization” because of its importance to a modern society. In a recent speech, Lifton says if this trend continues, where global copper production is less than the increase in demand, the copper deficit could make the REE shortages seem minor by comparison.
 
The REE deficit highlights a growing concern about how other minerals and metals might be similarly affected. It is not by chance that China became the world’s supplier of rare earth minerals.

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In Peru, Chinese mining firm moves a town to get to the copper underneath – by Caroline Stauffer (Globe and Mail/Reuters – July 4, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MOROCOCHA, PERU — Reuters – High in the Andes mountain range, a Chinese mining company is now in the housing construction and demolition business as it works to relocate a Peruvian town that sits in the way of its $2.2-billion (U.S.) Toromocho copper mine.

By late July, state-owned miner Chinalco says it will finish building a new city of paved roads and multistorey homes for 5,000 people currently living on the side of a giant red mountain of copper 4,500 metres above sea level.

Residents from the poor, ramshackle town of Morococha, where children attend school steps away from discarded mine tailings, will get access to amenities they currently lack, like modern water, sewage and electrical systems. They will all also own their homes and no one will need to pay rent.

Chinalco calls the new $50-million town the biggest privately funded social project in Peru’s mining history and it may help the company avoid community opposition that has stalled other major projects.

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Chinese demand for Chile’s copper holds strong – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – June 26, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Global copper goliath Chile says Chinese demand for the metal is holding up despite a slowing of China’s economic growth, signaling a continuation of market dynamics that have driven consumption for over a decade.

“We have not seen a relevant decrease with respects to the Chinese market,” Chile’s deputy mining minister, Pablo Wagner, said by telephone from Santiago.

Mr. Wagner pointed to forecasts for a rise in overall copper exports in 2012 of between 5 per cent and 6 per cent over the year-earlier period. “Signs of demand, shipments and inventories, continue to be solid.”

Chile exports about 53 per cent of its copper to China, giving it one of the clearest insights into the demand patterns of the giant Asian economy that has devoured the red metal as it fuels booming economic growth and urbanization. Chile is also home to the world’s largest copper company, state miner Codelco, which is a key business partner of China.

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[Duluth Metals Ltd.] Company boosts projections for mine near Ely, Minnesota – by Associated Press (Canadian Business Magazine – June 13, 2012)

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-publishing business magazine in Canada.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — New data suggest that a proposed mine near Ely contains one of the world’s largest deposits of copper, nickel and precious metals, along with some of the largest platinum and palladium resources outside South Africa, the company planning the mine told analysts Wednesday.

Duluth Metals Ltd., the Canadian-based parent of Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, significantly boosted its estimates of what could be pulled from the mine based on the data projections, which are measured two ways.

The company said the site has “indicated resources” of 8 billion pounds of copper, 2.5 billion pounds of nickel and 12.1 million ounces of palladium, platinum and gold. The company is highly confident in those estimates because they are based on samples taken from a high number of drill sites.

Duluth Metals separately projects “inferred resources” of 13.5 billion pounds of copper, 4.6 billion pounds of nickel and 15.8 million ounces of precious metals. Those estimates are less certain because they’re based on fewer bore holes.

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