Newsletter 20-5-2024

Newsletter – 20.05.2024

20/05/24                                      WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
  • Peru’s No. 2 copper mine Antamina sees production steady in 2024
  • Billionaire-backed KoBold, Midnight Sun team up for Zambia copper discovery
  • Zijin Mining to produce 50% more copper by 2028
  • Copper, gold prices close in on records as metals mayhem continues
  • Mali signs agreement with Ganfeng to operate Goulamina lithium mine
  • Deep-sea mining dust clouds travel long distances – research

Peru’s No. 2 copper mine Antamina sees production steady in 2024

The Antamina mine in Peru is one of the largest copper/zinc operations in the world.

Antamina, Peru’s second-largest copper mine, expects 2024 output to be in line with the 435,378 metric tons it produced last year, while it nears the start of work on a delayed project to extend the mine’s lifespan, a top executive said on Friday.

Antamina, controlled by Glencore, BHP, Teck and Mitsubishi, is pushing ahead with the $2 billion project to extend the mine’s life to 2036, from 2028 currently, its president Victor Gobitz said.

In 2022, Antamina was Peru’s top copper producer, with an output of 467,905 tons, but has since fallen to number two, according to data from the mines and energy ministry.

“We have no plan to increase production levels; undoubtedly these (copper) prices help margins, but we do not have that operational flexibility,” Gobitz told Reuters, referring to near record high global prices of the red metal.

Production will be “very similar to last year,” he added.

Billionaire-backed KoBold, Midnight Sun team up for Zambia copper discovery

KoBold Metals, a US-based startup supported by high-profile investors such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, is venturing into Zambia’s rich copper belt. In February it partnered with Canada’s Midnight Sun Mining (TSXV: MMA) to explore the promising Dumbwa target within the Solwezi copper project.

This strategic alliance will leverage KoBold’s advanced data science techniques and Midnight Sun’s extensive local experience. The goal is for KoBold to earn a 75% stake in the Dumbwa target by investing $15 million in exploration and making $500,000 in cash payments over 4.5 years.

“Partnering with KoBold allows us to explore this vast property with the necessary capital and expertise,” Midnight Sun’s marketing and communications director Adrien O’Brien told The Northern Miner’s Energy Transition Metals Summit in Washington, D.C. in April. “Their tech-driven approach combined with our local knowledge creates a powerful synergy aimed at unlocking Dumbwa’s full potential.”

During an April 30 session moderated by The Northern Miner’s western editor, Henry Lazenby, Kobold’s chief strategy officer, Daniel Enderton, lifted the lid on KoBold’s data-driven approach to mining.

“KoBold isn’t just targeting copper; we’re focused on all critical minerals and metals essential for the energy transition,” Enderton explained. “Our journey began about four years ago in Canada when we acquired rights to an area in northern Quebec, just south of Glencore’s (LSE: GLEN) Raglan nickel mine, where we identified lithium deposits.”

Backed by the billionaires’ interest in energy transition metals, KoBold invested US$50 million in exploration last year, Enderton said.

Zijin Mining to produce 50% more copper by 2028

China’s top copper producer Zijin Mining (HKG: 2899) expects to produce 4% more copper in 2025 than previously planned to profit from the metal’s ongoing price rally, driven by anticipated supply shortages.

The state-owned miner’s new goal is to boost copper production to 1.22 million tonnes next year. It also plans to further boost output to between 1.5 and 1.6 million tonnes by 2028, which represents a 50% increase from 2023.

Zijin, which is also China’s top gold miner, justified the production forecast revisions to positive market fundamentals and the potential for capacity expansion. It noted it was already working on increasing mine capacity at some of its operations, including the Julong copper project in Tibet.

The company, one of China’s most acquisitive metals groups and its biggest listed miner, intends to expedite the expansion of its Congo and Serbia mines, while also seeking large-scale projects globally.

Copper, gold prices close in on records as metals mayhem continues

Copper vaulted toward a record in London and nickel spiked nearly 8%, capping a week of big moves in industrial and precious metals markets as bullish investors pile in and bearish bets unravel.

Global benchmark copper contracts on the London Metal Exchange rallied as much as 2.8% on Friday to within striking distance of an all-time high set in March 2022. Copper prices had already hit records in New York and Shanghai this week, as the global market reels from a short squeeze centered on the Comex exchange.

Precious metals were also on a tear on Friday, with silver surging to an 11-year high, and gold rallying back toward an all-time peak reached in April. Strong gains in copper are spilling over to silver as the metal is also considered an industrial commodity given its usage in things such as solar panels, according to Phil Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures.

“There’s three things that impact a commodity: supply, demand, and price momentum,” Streible said. Silver “has all three of those right now.”

Mali signs agreement with Ganfeng to operate Goulamina lithium mine

Mali has signed an agreement with China’s Ganfeng Lithium to operate the Goulamina lithium mine and increase its share in the project in accordance with a new mining code, the West African country’s economy ministry said in a statement.

The mining code, adopted last year, allows the military-led government to increase its ownership of mining projects and recoup what it says is a major shortfall in production revenue.

Mali’s share in the Goulamina project will increase to 35% from 20%, according to the economy ministry’s statement dated May 16 and seen by Reuters on Friday.

“With this win-win agreement, which defends the vital interests of the Malian people, the State of Mali enters into a new partnership with the Chinese group Ganfeng Lithium Co for the development and operation of the Goulamina lithium project,” the statement said.

Deep-sea mining dust clouds travel long distances – research

Deployment of Royal IHC’s Apollo II pre-prototype nodule collector vehicle from the aft of RV Sarmiento de Gamboa during the 2018 field test in Málaga Bight.

New research has found that even though the ‘dust clouds’ created by deep-sea mining descend at a short distance for the most part, a small portion of the stirred-up bottom material remains visible in the water at long distances.

“These waters are normally crystal clear, so deep-sea mining could indeed have a major impact on deep-sea life,” marine geologist Sabine Haalboom, who studied this phenomenon for her PhD dissertation at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said in a media statement.

Haalboom pointed out that deep-sea mining may take place at depths whose underwater life is yet to be described.

Among other things, the silt at the bottom of the deep sea, which will be stirred up when extracting manganese nodules, is a major concern. Since life in the deep sea is largely unidentified, clouding the water will create completely unknown effects.


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