Archive | Copper

As 777 winds down, Hudbay looks to Lalor – by D’Arcy Jenish (Canadian Mining Journal – June 2017)

For nearly a century – 90 years in December, to be precise – Hudbay Minerals has been the cornerstone and lifeblood of the northern Manitoba community of Flin Flon. But change is coming to this quintessential one-industry, resource-based Canadian town.

In 2020, Hudbay is scheduled to close the 777 mine – its only remaining mining operation in the immediate vicinity of Flin Flon. Meantime, the company is continuing to develop and expand its base and precious metal Lalor mine, which began producing in late 2014 and is located in Snow Lake, 215 km east of Flin Flon.

“We have undertaken a program of re-evaluating exploration opportunities with the Flin Flon area,” says Cashel Meagher, Hudbay’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer. “The obvious future in northern Manitoba will divert from Flin Flon to Lalor. We want to perpetuate the life of the Lalor mine.” Continue Reading →

Let’s Combine Our Resources to develop Copperbelt Province, KCM CEO tells Partners (Lusaka Times – June 22, 2017)

KCM CEO Steven Din has invited industry peers and development partners to join hands and pool resources to scale up development in the Copperbelt.

Mr Din was speaking during a panel discussion around the theme ‘’Towards Developing the country mining vision – mainstreaming Zambia’s mineral resources for greater economic development’’ at the 7th Annual Zambia International Mining and Energy conference and exhibition (ZIMEC 2017).

Mr Din shared the platform with panelists Simon Njovu, President, Small Scale Miners Association of Zambia; Dr Wilfred Lombe, Independent Consultant; James Blewett, Team Leader, Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (UKAid); and Mayer Ngomesia, from the African Minerals Development Centre. Continue Reading →

A drone’s-eye view of mining safety at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott – by Amy Joi O’Donoghue ( – June 14, 2017)

BINGHAM CANYON — At about $2,000 apiece, drones have become an invaluable set of eyes for the mining operations at Rio Tinto Kennecott, providing real-time 3-D mapping, equipment inspections and surveillance of slopes, crests and walls.

The five drones at the Bingham Canyon mining operation are the result of a four-year effort by the company to boost employee safety and provide enhanced capabilities of surveying one of the world’s largest open-pit mines. “The potential we can unlock with these is only limited by the imagination,” said David van Hees, drone programs lead for Rio Tinto Kennecott.

Drone pilots go through rigorous certification offered by an aviation company, and each pilot conducts preflight safety checks. Multiple flights lasting about 18 minutes happen daily, and each pilot works with two spotters who measure wind speed and look for potential aerial hazards. Continue Reading →

From Tesla Cars to Underwear, Metal Makers Seek New Markets – by Susanne Barton, Mark Burton and Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – June 13, 2017)

The world’s biggest mining companies would like you to put more zinc in your zucchini and copper in your socks and dental floss.

While builders and manufacturers remain the biggest metals users, producers are confronting the end of a Chinese industrial boom that fueled surging global demand and prices. For more than a decade, the country dominated markets as it sucked up raw materials to build factories, homes and power lines. Now, with the industrial engine cooling, mine owners are looking for new uses to spur sales like in fertilizer, electric-car batteries and salmon cages.

“Traditional demand isn’t going to fall off a cliff,” said Paul Gait, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. in London. “But it’s true that no one wants to hear about industrial production growth or Chinese cement demand anymore.” Continue Reading →

Mongolia presidential hopeful urges more state control in mining – by Terrence Edwards (Reuters U.S. – June 8, 2017)

ULAANBAATAR – A leading candidate for Mongolia’s presidency has called for greater state control of projects like the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine run by Rio Tinto, making mining and foreign investment central issues in the election campaign.

The landlocked North Asian country of three million people goes to the polls on June 26, just a month after securing a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund-led bailout to lift the economy out of a balance of payments crisis.

Campaigning began on Tuesday, and painful austerity measures agreed by the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), which runs the government but doesn’t hold the presidency, have made an easy target for rivals, as have controversies over deals done with foreign mining companies. Continue Reading →

Freeport ‘on path’ to new Indonesia mine deal this year, CFO says – by Susan Taylor (Reuters – June 9, 2017)

TORONTO – Freeport-McMoRan Inc, the world’s largest publicly traded copper miner, is “on a path” to get a new mining deal with Indonesia this year for its giant Grasberg mine, Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Quirk said on Thursday.

The Arizona-based company resumed copper concentrate exports from Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine, in April after a 15-week outage related to a government dispute over mining rights. Freeport had planned to ramp up production, which was cut by around two-thirds during the outage.

Freeport shares gained 2.9 percent to $12.06 on Thursday. Jakarta halted Freeport’s copper concentrate exports in January, under new rules that require miners to adopt a special license, pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51 percent stake in their operations and relinquish arbitration rights. Continue Reading →

Why Joseph Kabila’s ambition endangers Congo (The Economist – June 3, 2017)

Congo’s president clings to power even as the hinterland erupts

“LET’S march on the president’s palace and drive him out,” howled the speaker, and a couple of hundred supporters, packed into a sweaty courtyard at the headquarters of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opposition party, yelled their agreement. Outside, a contingent of police, heavily outnumbered, waited nervously.

The march never happened. It would not have got anywhere near the president, and no one, for the moment, wants to risk a repeat of the violence last September, when police opened fire on crowds and a hundred or so people died. But the economy is tanking, civil war is raging again in the centre of the country, and patience is wearing thin with Congo’s dictatorial president, Joseph Kabila, whose final term in office expired five months ago.

Mr Kabila has misruled Congo for the past 17 years, after he took over from his father, who was shot by a bodyguard. The past few months have been particularly desperate. Congo depends on copper and cobalt, and to a lesser extent diamonds, for hard currency. Nearly all manufactured goods are imported. Continue Reading →

Turmoil at No. 2 Copper Mine Deepens as Freeport Fires Thousands – by Fitri Wulandari(Bloomberg News – June 7, 2017)

Turmoil at the world’s second-biggest copper mine intensified on Wednesday as Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s Indonesia unit said it had fired 3,000 workers amid a strike that has lasted more than five weeks and cut production at the pit.

Freeport Indonesia said the workers at the giant Grasberg mine failed to return after being asked five times and it now considers them to have resigned, spokesman Riza Pratama told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday.

There are about 30,000 people at the mine, including 11,000 direct employees. Shipments of concentrate aren’t affected, though output’s not at an “optimum level” because of the ongoing strike, Pratama said, without elaborating. Continue Reading →

Opponents rally against copper prospect they fear could become another Pebble – by Alex DeMarban (Alaska Dispatch News – June 7, 2017)

Critics of a copper prospect in the Bristol Bay region who fear it could become a smaller version of its giant neighbor, Pebble, have launched an early campaign to stop it.

The so-called Groundhog prospect follows the same geological belt that supports Pebble, the proposed massive open-pit gold and copper mine a few miles to the south. Pebble has bitterly divided pro-development and conservation forces for years.

But unlike Pebble, an Alaska Native village corporation owns part of the Groundhog mineral claims on state land. That’s not enough for opponents, who earlier this week said they oppose any mining in a watershed that supports one of the world’s most important wild salmon fisheries. Continue Reading →

Zambia Copper Output to Rise 4% to Record, Lobby Group Says – by Taonga Clifford Mitimingi (Bloomberg News – June 6, 2017)

Zambia’s copper output will climb by about 4 percent to a record this year as operators near a resolution with government over power prices, according to the Chamber of Mines in Africa’s second-biggest producer of the metal.

Production will increase to about 800,000 metric tons, said Nathan Chishimba, president of the lobby group. That would be higher than the 770,600 tons mined last year, and exceed a previous record of about 790,000 tons in 2013. The forecast is less optimistic than a projection by Christopher Yaluma, the mining minister, who sees output jumping to 850,000 tons.

Negotiations over a proposed power-tariff increase for the industry that accounts for more than half of Zambia’s electricity consumption are “progressing well,” Chishimba said Tuesday in an interview in Kitwe, Copperbelt province. Most Zambia mines rejected an increase the government imposed in 2014, and again at the start of 2016, and talks have been ongoing. Continue Reading →

Pakistan to open up mineral-rich Balochistan to China ‘Silk Road’ firms – by Gul Yousufzai and Drazen Jorgic (Live – June 2, 2017)

Quetta (Pakistan): Pakistan’s resource-rich Balochistan province wants Chinese companies to kick-start a boom in its mining industry by including the sector into Beijing’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, a senior provincial mining official said.

Beijing has pledged $57 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship ‘Belt and Road‘ project that first focused on Chinese firms building roads and power stations but is now expanding to include setting up industries.

Mineral extraction is a deeply contentious issue in Balochistan, where many indigenous people are angry that the province remains Pakistan’s poorest despite its vast mineral wealth. Continue Reading →

Migrants Find Poverty, Exclusion in South America’s Copper Capital (Voice of America – May 31, 2017)

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE — Immigrants from around South America hoping to seek their fortunes in the continent’s copper mining capital of Antofagasta, Chile, are instead finding poverty, exclusion and a precarious home in the city’s growing temporary slums.

Chile, one of Latin America’s most developed countries, has become a magnet in recent years for immigrants from poorer and less stable parts of the region, especially Haiti, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.

Many are attracted to this northern Chile city, close to where the majority of mines are located in the world’s biggest copper exporter. Not all seek work in the mines themselves, but rather in providing the ancillary services that mushroomed during the previous decade’s commodity boom. Continue Reading →

Strike impacts Freeport’s Grasberg mine, workers ‘resigned’ – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – May 25, 2017)

TORONTO – Freeport McMoRan Inc said Thursday that mining and milling rates at its Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia have been affected by an extended strike, and a “large number” of approximately 4,000 absentee workers were deemed to have resigned.

Escalating labor tension is a further disruption for Freeport, entangled in a lengthy dispute with Indonesia over rights to the giant mine, which has cost both sides hundreds of millions of dollars. Arizona-based Freeport is now trying to mitigate the impact of workforce issues on mining and milling rates, which it would not quantify, by re-allocating resources, training additional workers and supplementing its mill throughput with available stockpiles, spokesman Eric Kinneberg said.

Benchmark copper prices hit three-week highs Thursday as worries about prolonged disruptions at Grasberg triggered short-covering, ahead of a long holiday weekend in Europe and top consumer China. Freeport Indonesia union industrial relations officer, Tri Puspital, told Reuters on Saturday that the strike had halved Grasberg’s output. Continue Reading →

PDAC 2017: Lukas Lundin on patience and
 his early successes – by Salma Tarikh (Northern Miner – March 25, 2017)

Global mining news

Mining tycoon Lukas Lundin, chairman of the Lundin Group, spoke with The Northern Miner at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in March about his early successes in Argentina and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), before touching upon his latest adventure in Ecuador.

Starting with the Bajo de la Alumbrera project in Catamarca, Argentina, Lundin says in 1990 he began investigating the classic copper-gold porphyry deposit, but was unfamiliar with porphyries at the time. “I was a bit naive. I didn’t know what a porphyry system was in the nineties. I thought it was a heap-leach gold project.

“It probably helped not to know too much, because if you knew too much, you’d probably think it was too far in the interior or too long to go to the coast … the majors thought it was too complicated.” Despite these challenges, Alumbrera has become one of the world’s top-10 copper producers. Continue Reading →

Miners ready for new Mongolia boom with one-fifth of the country to be opened for digging – by Blanche Lim ( – May 23, 2017)

A new mining boom may be just around the corner in Mongolia, mining industry executives said, as it moves to open nearly 21 percent, a bit more than one-fifth, of the country for exploration to shore up its finances following an IMF-led bailout.

This month Mongolia’s government removed the main obstacle to its $5.5 billion IMF-led bailout. It annulled a controversial banking law that would have required companies like Rio Tinto to funnel all sales revenues from foreign investment projects through Mongolian banks and proposed the wider exploration area.

Andrew Stewart, managing director and CEO of Xanadu Mines, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” that the reform along with other steps to opening the mining sector should see investment grow. Continue Reading →