Archive | Copper

Indonesia Wants Control of Freeport’s Grasberg Within Two Years – by Yoga Rusmana and Eko Listiyorini (Bloomberg News – March 23, 2017)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — The dispute engulfing the world’s second-biggest copper mine deepened as Indonesia’s government said it planned to take a majority stake in the local unit of owner Freeport-McMoRan Inc. within two years while workers at the pit threatened to go on strike.

The state enterprises ministry has cleared a government-run company to buy a majority stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, the local unit that runs the massive Grasberg mine in Papua province, according to Fajar Harry Sampurno, the deputy minister for mining, media and strategic industries. Freeport-McMoran would have to divest its share to a state-owned entity under a new contract that the Phoenix-based miner is yet to sign.

“We’re ready,” Sampurno said at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday. A local aluminum producer, PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, will be turned into a holding company to purchase the stake, he said. “Once the holding company is formed, they will immediately work on it.” Continue Reading →

Peru’s minerals railway to take 2-3 weeks to resume: government – by Mitra Taj (Reuters U.S. – March 22, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

LIMA – A railway used by copper, zinc and silver mines to transport concentrates from Peru’s central Andes to port is likely be out of action for at least two to three weeks following deadly floods and mudslides, a minister said on Wednesday.

Repairs should take about two weeks, but work in the field was unlikely to start until next week once dangerous river levels had eased, transportation minister Martin Vizcarra told Reuters.

The railway has been closed since Friday, when torrential downpours triggered flooding and mudslides that killed at least 75 people and ruptured the rail line in several places. “The damage wasn’t mild, it was seriously damaged,” Vizcarra said by phone. “It’ll take at least two to three weeks.” Continue Reading →

Escondida workers to end strike as they opt for old contract – by Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.S. – March 23, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE – The strike at Chile’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, is ending after workers decided to invoke a rarely used legal provision that allows them to extend their old contract, the union said on Thursday.

Hours earlier, talks between the two sides failed, and Escondida, which is operated by BHP Billiton, said it would attempt to restart production. The workers said they would present their decision to the government on Friday and return to work on Saturday.

A swift restart of Escondida, which produced about 5 percent of the world’s copper last year, may bring some relief to the Chilean economy after a strike that has lasted 43 days. But there was little immediate effect on copper prices, with industry experts saying the two sides will still have to tackle major issues in 18 months, when talks must resume. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton, striking Escondida union to meet Wednesday – by Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.K. – March 22, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE – The striking union at BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX)(BLT.L) Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, will meet with the company on Wednesday to resume conversations, both parties said on Tuesday night.

In a letter sent to the members of the 2,500-member Escondida union, labour leaders said they would meet with the company in the hopes of putting an end to the 41-day strike, one of the longest in the history of Chilean mining.

A company spokesman confirmed to Reuters that a meeting would take place on Wednesday, adding that the time of the meeting would be coordinated on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Tribunal favours Barrick, Antofagasta in Pakistan lease denial case – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – March 21, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

A World Bank’s tribunal has ruled in favour of Tethyan Copper Co. (TCC), a joint venture between Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE: ABX) and Antofagasta (LON:ANTO), in relation to the denial of a mining lease for the multi-billion-dollar Reko Diq copper and gold reserve in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

The decision by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), issued on Monday, confirms that Pakistan violated several provisions of its bilateral investment treaty with Australia, where Tethyan Copper is incorporated, Barrick said in a statement. The ruling also rejects Pakistan’s final defense against liability.

The case dates back to 2011, when the provincial government of Balochistan rejected TCC’s application for a mining licence at the remote Reko Diq site, near the Afghan-Pakistan border, even though the firm had been awarded a licence for exploration in the area in 2006. Continue Reading →

Resolution mine official calls permitting process a barrier to business – by Dustin Quiroz (Cronkite News Arizona PBS – March 21, 2017)

https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/

WASHINGTON – The Resolution Copper Mine in Arizona would be operating by now in most countries, but is still years away from getting all the permits it needs to begin mining in the U.S., a company official testified Tuesday.

Nigel Steward, managing director of copper and diamonds for Rio Tinto, the multinational mining company developing the Resolution project, told a House Natural Resources subcommittee that “outdated, inefficient” permitting is a “major barrier” to mining companies.

“To date, Rio Tinto has spent over $1.3 billion on the Resolution project for permitting, studies and project shaping, the project is years away from a final permit,” Steward said in his prepared testimony. “In other countries, this project would likely be coming to the end of the permitting process.” Continue Reading →

Zambia Copper Miners Face $276 Million Bill in Power Dispute – by Matthew Hill and Taonga Clifford Mitimingi (Bloomberg News – March 20, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Zambian copper miners including the local unit of Glencore Plc could face a power bill of more than $276 million if they lose a dispute with the government over electricity tariff rises, according to Copperbelt Energy Corp., their biggest supplier.

A resolution to the three-year battle could come by the end of the month, Copperbelt said in its 2016 annual report, published on Friday. If the High Court rules in favor of the energy regulator and its tariff increases, the supplier will be ordered to pay state-owned power producer Zesco Ltd. $276 million in outstanding fees. The company would in turn pass the cost onto customers, Copperbelt said.

A ruling could bring an end to a dispute that has raged in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer since April 2014, when Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board raised tariffs for mining operators by almost 30 percent. The Chamber of Mines of Zambia, which represents the companies, asked the High Court in Lusaka, the capital, to review if the increase was lawful. The regulator again raised prices in January, 2016. Continue Reading →

Smaller global copper deficit seen in December – ICSG – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – March 21, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – The International Copper Study Group said Monday the global copper market deficit had fallen back to about 50 000 t in December, following a deficit of about 90 000 t in November.

According to the group’s latest copper bulletin, world mine output is estimated to have increased by around 5%, or one-million tonnes, with concentrate output increasing by 7% and solvent extraction-electrowinning declining by 2%.

The increase in world mine output in 2016 was mainly attributable to a 38% (650 000 t) rise in Peruvian concentrate output that benefitted from new and expanded capacity brought on stream in the last two years, and a recovery in production levels in Canada, Indonesia and the US, and expanded capacity in Mexico. Continue Reading →

Freeport threatens action over copper mine dispute – by Sara Schonhardt (Wall Street Journal/The Australian – March 20, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

Freeport-McMoRan’s standoff with Indonesia over the giant Grasberg copper and gold mine is entering a new phase, as the company scales back operations while trying to force a resolution to the dispute.

Last month, the US miner threatened to take Indonesia to arbitration, saying new rules the country imposed on miners in January violated the terms of an operating agreement struck in 1991 that runs to 2021.

The rules are part of a broad ­effort to gather more revenue from the mining sector. Under the rules, Freeport is banned from ­exporting a form of unrefined copper until it agrees to new operating rights that would eventually force it to cede control of Grasberg, the second-largest copper mine in the world, to Indonesian entities. Continue Reading →

Canadian mining companies turn bullish on Congo, despite its violence – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – March 20, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the vast war-torn country in the heart of Africa, has fascinated the world’s miners for decades. Its reputation for violence and corruption has long deterred most investors – but a growing number of Canadian miners are now convinced that the rewards outweigh the risks.

Companies such as Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., Banro Corp. and Alphamin Resources Corp. are expanding their operations in Congo, betting that the country’s huge mineral resources and improving transport links will unlock profits. Political unrest and lawlessness, however, are still major concerns for many companies in the country.

Congo’s enormous mineral wealth has been estimated to be worth trillions of dollars. With more than 1,100 minerals and precious metals identified, including the world’s largest cobalt reserves and huge deposits of gold and copper, it has “the potential to become one of the richest countries on the African continent and a driver of African growth,” the World Bank says. Continue Reading →

COPPER-NICKEL GOES ON TRIAL – by Leah Ryan and Jerry Burnes (Mesabi Daily News – March 16, 2017)

http://www.virginiamn.com/

DULUTH — With the federal government weighing a 20-year moratorium on mining activity in the Superior National Forest, Minnesotans took to the microphone for their side of the issue, essentially turning Thursday’s U.S. Forest Service hearing into copper-nickel’s most public trial.

Hundreds of people crowded into Symphony Hall at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center wearing their side on their sleeve. Mining’s supporters donned “We Support Mining” blue baseball hats and buttons, countered by T-shirts and stickers saying “We love the BWCA.” Thursday’s hearing was the culmination of the often tense, always at odds debate over copper-nickel mining at the edge the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely.

“There is a big crowd, and that tells me a lot of people find this important,” said Connie Cummins, supervisors of Superior National Forest, addressing the crowd before the hearing. Continue Reading →

Indonesia’s long relationship with Freeport at crossroads – by Staff (Asian Corrospondent – March 16, 2017)

https://asiancorrespondent.com/

AMERICAN mining giant Freeport-McRoRan Copper & Gold may soon pull out of Indonesia after more than four decades due to prolonged conflict with the government. The company, which is the country’s oldest international investor and largest taxpayer, has been embroiled in a battle with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration over new national mining regulation.

Legislation introduced in January 2017 requires Freeport to convert its business contract into a special mining licence, dictating the company must divest 51 percent of shares in its local subsidiary within a decade and build a new US$2 billion smelter.

With economic nationalism a key aspect of Jokowi’s agenda, the government is also demanding higher royalties, land relinquishments and more materials to be procured from local suppliers. Continue Reading →

Higher copper prices here to stay, says Chile’s Antofagasta – by Marcus Leroux (The Australian – March 15, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

The Times – Steadily growing demand from China and a dearth of new mines mean that higher copper prices are here to stay, Antofagasta claims, as it raised its dividend and posted improved profits.

The Chilean-based mining group has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the rally in copper prices in recent months. The world’s two largest copper mines have halted production, while commodity prices have benefited generally from supply cutbacks and the promise of renewed infrastructure spending in the US.

The company said that there was growing demand from emerging markets, principally China, while production is slowing because the grade of ore being mined is falling and few new mines are being developed. Continue Reading →

Escondida copper mine in Chile says to restart operations (Reuters U.S. – March 14, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

The Escondida copper mine in Chile plans to restart operations after striking workers again rejected an invitation by controlling owner BHP Billiton to return to negotiations, an executive told reporters late Tuesday.

The world’s largest copper mine will first resume work in two areas of the mine that are unrelated to the current talks, Escondida Mine President Marcelo Castillo said at a news conference in the city of Antofagasta.

The company will then begin to do additional maintenance work, before finally re-establishing mining operations and restarting copper production. “We hope that in some way opportunities for dialogue come about…but with the posture that we saw yesterday (from the union) and that all of you saw yesterday, it’s difficult to be able to hope for a conversation in the short term,” Castillo said. Continue Reading →

The richest seam: Mining companies have dug themselves out of a hole (The Economist – March 11, 2017)

http://www.economist.com/

Electric vehicles and batteries are expected to create huge demand for copper and cobalt

FOR mining investors there is something sinfully alluring about Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss metals conglomerate. It is the world’s biggest exporter of coal, a singularly unfashionable commodity. It goes where others fear to tread, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has an unsavoury reputation for violence and corruption. It recently navigated sanctions against Russia to strike a deal with Rosneft, the country’s oil champion.

Yet Glencore could still acquire a halo for itself. It is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of copper and the biggest of cobalt, much of which comes from its investment in the DRC. These are vital ingredients for clean-tech products and industries, notably electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries.

The potential of “green” metals and minerals, which along with copper and cobalt include nickel, lithium and graphite, is adding to renewed excitement about investing in mining firms as they emerge from the wreckage of a $1trn splurge of over-investment during the China-led commodities supercycle, which began in the early 2000s. Continue Reading →