News and Information Relative To Copper
and the Copper Industry

Updated 14 July, 2015

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**Update On Copper**

Tuesday, 14 July, 2015
By: Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com

Copper closed 7-14-2015, at $2.54/Lb., near its 6 year low. China, the worlds consumer of 40% of world copper, and their sluggish economy is the primary cause of the copper woes. Meanwhile, China is expected to have a annual growth rate just below 7%, which most industrialized countries would envy. China's government has set a target growth rate of 7% for 2015, which if they can keep it close to that figure, will be quite good in this sluggish economic world.

With many copper mining companies in deep trouble, due to massive debt, taken on with pie in the sky copper projections, and struggling to reduce their debt load in a low copper price environment. This includes selling properties, shutting down high cost properties and cutting back on marginal properties.

It would appear, at this time, a high growth rate for copper is unlikely in the near term, and a reduction of supply is about the only thing that will bring about better prices for copper. Copper's use is directly related to economic growth, manufacturing and construction, and all those outlets are struggling worldwide, currently.

Saturday, 6 June, 2015
By: Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com

Copper, June5, 2015

Metallic commodities continue their lengthy slump, as speculators await news of China's economy next week. Good news might start a bit of upside in the copper futures market, which closed at $2.69/lb Friday. While China is holding the factory output at good time levels, a flood of products is reducing prices for "Made In China" worldwide, more so than the trillions of free money by various government stimulus programs. Perhaps this is China's stab at "regulating" their buying countries economies. While they do not need us, they need our money.

Unfortunately, good news is not expected next week, as China struggles with their economy, so the demand for copper is not expected to rise in the near future, at least that is what my crystal ball is saying.

Domestic copper companies may have to await for a change in Presidents, to a sensible Republican, before the economy of the US takes off, as the Communist Democrat Party of Clinton and Obama wreak havoc on the American Way of Life. Our dictator ignores the Constitution and the laws of the elected Legislative Branch, to push the Communist Democrat Agenda down Americans throats by dictatorial decree. Never has so mush ignorant babble emanated from the White House. The Supreme Court appears to have no interest in upholding the US Constitution. So, again, it is up to the people to make a change at the top, and put a sensible Republican in office to steer this nation back to the path of Greatness.

Copper's China Factor Diminishes A Bit

For the past 5 or so years, China has played the major role in copper's expansion and good times. It would appear, that with the rumored warehouses full of copper, used possibly to secure numerous loans, and the fact that China is paying less premium than other destinations, would indicate that China is taking a copper breather. With copper currently bouncing around $3.15/pound ($6,930/MTon), China is paying a 1% premium for copper shipped to its ports. The US is paying a 2.3% premium, which would lead one to think the US economy is more robust that China's, currently. At least as far as copper is concerned, which involves construction and electronic machinery production. A premium payment means those paying receive delivery before those that do not pay a premium.

With China gulping up 300,000 metric tons of copper per month, it is the largest consumer of the metal, and a slowdown in their use of copper would mean a lower copper price down the road. Forecasters are predicting that copper could drop to $3.00/pound ($6,600/Mton) by the end of 2014. This is the break even point for many operating copper mines and could result in reduced operations or a few mines shut down until prices improve. If prices drop to under $3/pound it will definitely close some of the higher cost operations, reducing global supply, which will eventually increase prices down the road.

**Update On Copper**

Monday, 2 Sep., 2013
By: Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com

With the favorable manufacturing news coming out of China, it appears that their economy is starting to rev up a bit, breathing some life into copper, which has been languishing around the low $3/pound range for a while. It looks like copper will do better for the remainder of the year, and probably into 2014, as well, if China continues to stabilize their economic problems. The Euro zone is like wise showing some economic hope, as they patch up the once sinking Euro ship. Asia, as a whole is in the best shape, economically, and all of this bodes well for copper. The economies are not out of the bear woods, yet though, as the US has yet to bear the burden of Obama Care and other onerous government sponsored dead weights. There are some good signs, globally, though and that is good news for commodities in general.

**Update On Copper Smelting in China**
Monday, 21 Jan., 2013
By: Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com

China has decided to use it's expanded copper refining capacity to reduce the copper metal imports and purchase copper concentrates. Copper metal prices (cahtode) are currently around $8,000/ton(m), while copper concentrates are being purchased for about $224/ton(M). China has decided to use its excess refinery capacity to produce the metal from concentrates. They have indicated that they will sell some excess copper metal outside of the country, depressing the price of copper metal. That may mean around mid year, $3/lb copper cathode prices will appear normal. We shall see.

**Update On Copper Mining In Kazakhstan**
Monday, 24 December 2012
By: Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com

London based Orsu Metals has received approval for its technical phase of the Karchiga Copper Project, which is to develop a mining and processing facility in the Oblast Region of Kazakhstan. They are currently arranging financing of this venture, and it looks like it could be a money maker for the company. The reserves (probable) are comprised of 8.5 million tons of sulfide ore (145,200 metric tons of copper), and 1.5 millions tons of oxide ore averaging 1.43% Cu.

With copper currently at $3.53/pound, that is a lot of money in the ground (about 1.3 trillion USD). By heap leaching the oxide and flotation and SX for the sulfide ore, it should be a profitable venture over the life of the mine, and it is doubtful they will have any problems obtaining the necessary capital. Their cash operating costs are estimated at $1.47/pound of copper, which leaves a good bit of room for fluctuations in the market and profits.

They presently have plans to start production of sulfide ore in 2013, and are expected to produce 13,000,000 metric tons of copper per year. The mine life is projected to be 11.5 years. With the Chinese economy picking up steam, and the global demand picking up a bit, (even with the fiscal cliff facing the US economy), it should be a reasonable risk and a profitable venture.

Here's to a profitable copper venture in Kazakhstan.

**Update On Copper Mining In Chile**
Sunday, 11 November, 2012
By: Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com

Copper mining costs are being reported ranging from around $2/pound to a high of $3.20 per pound.
As China's economy cools to a 5% growth rate, they require fewer resources, such as steel and copper, so the demand weakens, but if American and European economies ever recover, copper will again rise to the $4 per pound level. The trick is to still be in business when that happens, and keeping mines profitable and costs in line is how a mining company will do that. By utilizing process efficiencies, convincing the government to not tax and fee the industry into oblivion, and keeping mine costs in line with projected income will determine if Chile's copper thrives or moves on to another continent.

Copper Update 13 October, 2011

By Charles Kubach
13 Oct., 2011

China likes a bargain, and since copper prices have declined about 25% recently, China has engaged in a copper buying spree, importing 10-15% more copper than last year. This will help refill declining stockpiles in China, and support the copper miners.

As China battles inflationary gremlins, it's demand will ebb and surge, but overall should remain healthy, as they appear to have a handle on inflation. It (inflation) is a never ending battle, for such a expanding economy as they have, though, but they appear to be in it for the long haul, and are not just adapting short term or quick fixes. This will be good, and the effects should lead to a long lasting, healthy capitalistic economy in the PRC.

Copper Shortage Projected for Remainder of 2011

By Charles Kubach
26 July, 2011

Copper closed today at $4.44 per pound. It is about to rise again, due to reported scarcities in supply, as reported by Barclays Capital, this year (2011) is to be the weakest year for copper production since the 1990's, while demand is still hot. China's expanding economy still requires a lot of copper, and a percent of this will be imported. Hence, this is probably the beginning of copper's rise to the plus $5/pound territory, which will bode well for copper producers and their corporate stock prices.

I see gold in copper, currently, and that is good for mining producers of the conductive metal.

Copper Surplus Expected in 2013

By Charles Kubach
Mine-Engineer.Com 18 May, 2011

A copper surplus is expected by 2013, which will cause a excess of 297,000 tons, which should mildly depress the copper market. My estimate is copper prices will drop from +$5/pound to $4.50/pound and hover in the $4.50 to $5.00 range until the surplus is gone. Until then, near $5 and over $5/pound.

Long term, metals are in good shape, since the demand will only increase with global expanding economies. All products fluctuate with supply and demand changes, and copper will also.

Copper Heads To $5.00/Pound

By Charles Kubach
Mine-Engineer.Com 5 Oct., 2010

Based upon demand from emerging economies, Morgan Stanley is saying copper will reach $5/pound. This is in the face of $3.71/pound price today, and it still has to reach $4/pound, but they predict a fairly steady climb for copperin the near future. I think a +$4/pound is realistic, and copper will shine at those levels. Since costs are in the $1.70 level, that will be profitable for those copper mining companies.
Copper Heads To $4.00/Pound

By Charles Kubach
Mine-Engineer.Com 16 April, 2010

Based upon the US economy showing a bit of lusture, and China's copper demand increasing many are predicting over $3.80/pound copper this year. In fact copper will probably go past $4/lb., simply based upon China's growing economy. So, for copper producers, the future is pretty bright and shiny, like native copper. Europe and their socialistic economy still lag, the US economy will see increased government spending and must raise revenues for their massive trillion here and trillion there programs, which will depress business, as the current government does not know economics from voodoo. They continue to expand government into every facet of business and citizens lives, pushing our once great country towards third world status, as they take from those that have and throw massive amounts of money at programs doomed from the onset. The green economy may very well be oxidized copper.
China's Copper Production Surges

By Charles Kubach
Mine-Engineer.Com 22 Mar., 2009

Copper produced from China's smelters increased 18% over the previous year (600,000 metric tons) during the first two months of this year. When combined with the decreased import and processing of scrap copper (it costs more to reclaim copper from scrap than it does to smelt from ore), the copper outlook in China shows glimmers of recovery. Taking advantage of the low spot prices for copper ($1.80 per pound), setting a record for copper imports in February.

China is getting ready for the return to growth and building, using a very capitalistic approach to their economic problems, and it looks like it is paying early dividends. This is good news for the copper industry, since demand should remain modest, instead of plummeting like our economy run by socialist economic theories.

Copper In A Bad Economy

By Charles Kubach
Mine-Engineer.Com 22 Nov., 2008

Copper, unlike gold, has industry as its primary engine, and the global industrial outlook is slow, currently, and for the next year. Until global economies improve, the demand for copper will remain weak and the price will fluctuate between $3500 and $2200 per ton. Positives for copper are decreased costs of production, and the economic stimulus interventions of various governments which should stimulate production of goods, at least short term.

I do not think the global economy will slip into a depression, but depending upon how politics plays (socialists tend to regulate industries to their demise), it could be a short recession. The USA is still not technically in a recession, but should meet the technical definition of 2 quarters of negative growth soon. I think the downturn could be short, and if this is the case, copper will have a short downturn period. The time factor of the downturn depends upon how economies are treated by the respective governments. Bad political decisions will reflect badly on the global economy. The USA has just elected a socialist leaning government , and this usually spells doom for a market driven economy. If the socialists have their way, the industrial complex of the US will change radically, for the worse, and copper may fall below $2200 per ton. Hopefully, there will be enough in government to pull it towards the center and not let the country to slip into socialism, with big government controlling every facet of the economy. If not, doom and gloom will prevail, economically, and gold will replace the USD as the currency of value.

Copper Industry Update - - July 5, 2007

China Copper

Jiangxi Copper Group's new copper smelting project will produce 300,000 tons of copper cathode per year, and is due to start up in August 2007. Jiangxi officials said this huge smelter will not affect the copper market, because all of the copper will be used internally in China.

Copper for the smelter will primarily come from imported copper concentrate and scrap copper to supply the 300,000-tonne crude copper line. Copper concentrate for will be mainly sourced from Chile, Mongolia and Indonesia.

China's copper smelting capacity will reach between 3.2 million and 3.3 million tons this year, and copper prices will fluctuate around current levels in the near future. The August copper delivery price in Shanghai was 8,341) per ton (July 5, 2007).

(April 27,2007)

The copper output this year (2007) is projected to be 17,820,000 tons from global mining operations. Although global economies are slowing (except for China, growing at 11%/Year), 2007 is projected to be another good year for copper. At the current $3.65/pound for copper, it is at historic levels, and will probably not change much during 2007. The 1,342,000 tons of copper produced in the US (Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana) is at the highest production volume since 2001. Domestic copper use is projected to decline, due to the slump in the housing and construction industry, but strong global demand is expected to keep supplies tight and prices up for the remainder of the year.

 Cerro Verde Expansion

The Cerro Verde porphyry copper mine in Arequipa is operated by Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde S.A.A., a Peruvian subsidiary of Phelps Dodge,is one of the world's largest producers of copper and molybdenum. Major ores mined are Chrysocolla, brochantite, chalcocite and chalcopyrite. The mine is currently undergoing a large expansion, as described in the Phelps Dodge Press Release.

"Cerro Verde is undergoing an $850 million expansion that will permit mining a primary sulfide ore body beneath the oxide ore body currently in production. Through the expansion, approximately 1 billion tons of sulfide ore reserves averaging 0.51 percent copper will be processed through a new concentrator. Mining of the sulfide ore body is expected to begin in late 2006. The expanded copper production rate should be achieved in the first half of 2007. Current copper production at Cerro Verde is approximately 100,000 tons per year. After the expansion, copper production initially will approximate 300,000 tons per year."

When this expansion is completed, later this year, it should help alleviate a little of the current copper shortage, but will not reflect upon pricing much, since demand is much larger than the 300,000 additional tons that will be supplied by the expansion project. 
  Copper Processing Developments - - May 15, 2006 - -

Copper processing advancements continue to be made in heap leaching, allowing greater recoveries (up to 90%) at lower costs. More efficient methods of bringing the solution into contact with the copper ore, such as drip emitters, and more efficient heap leach pad designs will continue to improve the efficiency of copper producing companies.

Does aeration of the leach pad produce greater recoveries? After listening to some of the experts debate this, I came to the conclusion that there were as many saying no, as were saying yes.

Bio Oxidation and improved solvent extraction applied to copper production are also showing promise in increasing recoveries and efficiency, as well as experimentation with leach chemicals other than sulfuric acid (the most common copper leachent.)  

Domestic Copper Production

Domestic mine production in 2005 declined slightly to 1.15 million tons and was valued at about $4.3 billion. The principal mining States, in descending order, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, accounted for 99% of domestic production; copper was also recovered at mines in four other States. (US Geologic Survey) Despite this production, 49% of copper used in the US in 2005 was imported. Globally, 14.9 million tons of copper were produced in 2005, (an increase of 2.6%) with estimated world copper reserves at 940 million tons. At current use levels, this would amount to 63 years of copper left on the planet. With developing countries demanding more copper each year, the annual consumption is bound to increase, though. So, in 20 years, will copper be selling for $500/pound? Will the future of copper mining be on Mars?
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