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Outlook For Copper Supply Is Deteriorating – Goldman
Bloomberg reported that China’s "brewing" copper smelter bottleneck signals deepening supply worries for a metal market that’s already seen facing shortages this year. So-called treatment charges paid in China by miners to smelters have tumbled to USD 56 a metric tonne, the lowest in almost seven years, squeezing margins and potentially spurring more production cuts, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc analysts, including Mr Alison Li. Output in the first half was curtailed after plants had their maintenance, access to credit tightened and technical issues hampered operations.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Mongolia Exports 749,000 Tonnes Of Copper Concentrates In H1
Xinhua reported that Mongolia exported a total of 749,100 tonnes of copper concentrates in the first half of this year, which is an increase of 15,400 tonnes from the same period last year. Mongolian Customs General Administration said that as a result, the resource-rich Asian country received 1.06 billion US dollars into the state budget, an increase of 48.4 million dollars year on year.
Mining is the most important sector of Mongolia's economy. The country is rich in natural resources such as gold, silver, iron, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, and fluorspar.
Source : Xinhua
Rio Tinto Mine Delay Shows Block Caving, Copper Supply Risk - Fitch Ratings
Fitch Ratings said that the delay and higher than expected cost of Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi mine project highlights the risks associated with block caving, an underground hard rock mining method, which could have implications for copper supply and pricing. However, CRU expects block caves to account for more than a fifth of the growth in potential copper supply by 2025 and to represent around 10% of the unadjusted copper mine supply by 2025.
Fitch-rated mining companies Freeport-McMoRan, Southern Copper and First Quantum are most exposed to copper. Copper is less material for BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Teck Resources, Vale and Glencore due to product diversification.
Rio Tinto announced last week that its Oyu Tolgoi project cost could increase by USD 1.9 billion to USD 7.2 billion. Capital costs for block cave mining are significant at more than USD 5 billion for large-scale block caves like Oyu Tolgoi, according to CRU. Rio Tinto also pushed back expectations for initial production by 16 months to 30 months to between May 2022 and June 2023. Challenging ground conditions causing stability risks were cited as the rationale.
Rio Tinto's credit profile is not negatively affected by the delay and higher project investment due to the company's diversification, conservative balance sheet, strong cash flow and position in global mining. Fitch did not have any earnings from the block cave expansion in its rating case forecast for Rio Tinto due to the complexity of the project and lack of full visibility around the commissioning schedule.
Oyu Tolgoi will be one of the largest copper mines in the world producing about 500,000 tonnes of copper annually once completed. Growth in underground cave mining is being fueled by depletion of orebodies, high production rates and low operating costs. However, many projects encounter challenges delaying ramp up and raising costs and have less flexibility versus conventional mining methods to respond to issues that may arise. The caving industry is also moving toward the next generation of caving geometries and scenarios, involving greater depths and competent rock-mass environments that are likely to be less predictable and present new challenges.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Analysts Cut Copper Forecasts On Worries About Chinese Demand – Reuters
Reuters reported that analysts have marked down this year’s forecasts for copper and other industrial metals prices in recent months as top consumer China struggles to revive its economy, a Reuters poll showed. Analyst Carsten Menke at Julius Baer in Zurich said that “We expect a stabilisation of the Chinese economy rather than an acceleration, suggesting that metals demand should be sufficiently solid to support prices but not strong enough to push them higher.”
Analysts trimmed their expectations of a copper market deficit in 2019 to 178,000 tonnes from their previous consensus forecast of 205,500 tonnes.
Nickel, the best performing base metal so far this year with gains of 34%, saw a heated rally during much of July as China’s Tsingshan went on a buying spree and speculators also piled in.
The rally has since pulled back from the highs and many analysts believe the market will retrace further because the gains were not fully supported by supply/demand fundamentals.
Source : Reuters
Rio Tinto Commences Drill Program at Janice Lake Copper Project, Saskatchewan
Transition Metals Corp announced that Rio Tinto Exploration Canada and Forum Energy Metals have commenced a 7,000 metre diamond drill program on the Janice Lake copper project. The program is helicopter supported and will utilize two drill rigs to complete approximately 20 to 30 holes. Drilling will initially concentrate on the areas of known copper mineralization while the data from the recently completed airborne magnetic survey is interpreted by RTEC’s geophysical team. It is expected that this survey will yield additional targets for drill-testing. President and CEO Mr Scott McLean stated “We are very pleased to see a major program of diamond drilling ramping up at Janice Lake and are looking forward to discussing results with our partners.”
RTEC is planning to spend approximately USD 3 million dollars on the project this year as part of a seven year, USD 30 million option to earn 80% of the project. The Janice Lake project is under option to Forum Energy Metals Corp from Transition with exploration funding and operatorship being provided by RTEC.
Forum and RTEC have prioritized four target areas for drilling
Jansem – one of four holes drilled by Forum’s initial program completed in 2018 intersected 18.5 meter grading 0.94% Cu and 6.7 g/t Ag including 5.2m grading 2.22% Cu and 16.5 gram per tonne Ag
Janice – Noranda drill hole PL-93-11 intersected 33m grading 0.77% Cu (true thickness unknown)
Kaz – Noranda drill hole PL-93-05 intersected 15.1m grading 0.32% Cu (true thickness unknown)
Genie North (Juno) – An interpreted structural target with nearby grab samples at surface returning up to 1.9% Cu and 32 gram per tonne Ag.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Glencore Cuts 2019 Copper Production Guidance
Glencore reported a 2.4% fall in Q2 copper production to 342,300 metric tons and cut its full-year production guidance for the metal by 1%, citing problems at its copper business in Africa as the copper business “did not meet” its expected operational performance during 1H 2019, and overall African copper production fell 3% to 187,800 tonnes.
Cobalt and zinc production rose 7% each to 10,400 tonnes and 273,600 tonnes respectively; also coal production increased 12% to 35 million tonnes.
The company said it had been forced to take a USD 350 million mark-to-market hit because of falling prices on 10,300 tonnes of unsold cobalt.
Glencore also flagged challenges at two projects at its Katanga, and it is likely to trigger a downward revision to production forecasts. Katanga is expected to produce 285,000 tonnes of copper this year.
Due to maintenance, production guidance at the Mopani mine for 2019 has been cut by 10,000 tonnes.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
India’s Per Capita Copper Consumption May Rise to 1 Kg by 2025
India’s per capita copper consumption is expected to increase from the present level of 0.5 kg to 1 kg by 2025. While infrastructure will spur demand growth of refined copper in the country other key drivers would include thrust on increasing urbanization, development of industrial corridors, smart city projects, housing for all Indians by 2022, National highway development project, Rail projects and Defence production policy to encourage indigenous manufacture, Hindustan Copper chairman Mr Santosh Sharma said in his address during the company’s 52nd AGM.
In addition to this, the evolving market will have a substantial impact on copper demand. The market for electric vehicles is expected to witness growth in coming years as government incentives continue around the world including India by reducing GST. It is projected that the demand for Copper due to electric vehicles is expected to increase by 1,700 kilotons by 2027. Another driver would be India's energy plan 2022-100GW solar, 32GW wind, 260GW thermal & nuclear, 62 GW hydro and plan for green energy corridor for transmission of renewable energy.
He said that during the fiscal 2018-19 the demand of refined copper products in the country was around 7 lakh tonnes and is expected to grow at 9-10% in tandem with economic growth in the country.
World mine production is expected to grow by 1.9% in 2020. While it increased by about 2.3% to 20.56 million tonnes in 2018, it is forecast to remain unchanged in 2019. Global mining companies have taken up capacity enhancement projects and world copper mining capacity is estimated to reach 25.9 million tonnes in 2021, with 20% being from solvent extraction process.
Refined copper production is expected to rise by 2.8% in 2019, but is likely to be constrained in 2020 due to tightness in availability of concentrates with growth being restrained to around 1.2% in 2020 technical upgrades/modernisations.
Source : Economic Times
Chile June Copper Output By Down 3.6%
SP Global reported that Chilean copper production fell 3.6% month on month in June to 474,740 tonnes following a strike at the state-owned Chuquicamata mine, according to government data released. In a statement, statistics agency INE said that while production at some major mines had been boosted by higher ore grades and ore throughput, stoppages at other operations affected total production.
Around 3,200 unionized employees at the Chuquicamata mining and smelting complex in northern Chile went on strike for two weeks in late June after pay talks ended without agreement. State-owned copper company Codelco said the protest roughly halved production at the division.
Copper production in Chile during the first six months of 2019 totaled 2.785 million tonne, down 2.7% compared with the same period in 2018, reflecting the impact of torrential rains in February, lower ore grades and maintenance shutdowns in the early part of the year.
The sector's weak start to 2019 has forced analysts to cut their production forecasts. Earlier in July, the Chilean Copper Commission predicted production would reach 5.83 million tonne this year, matching 2018's record but below its previous forecast of almost 6.0 million tonne.
Chile's molybdenum production fell 19.4% year on year in June to 3,894 tonne, the data show.
During the first half of 2019, output of the metal, produced as a byproduct in several of Chile's largest copper mines, totaled 26,456 tonne, down 11.4% compared with the same period in 2018.
Chile's gold production in June rose 17.1% year on year to 3,253 kg and increased 13.0% year on year during the first six months of the year to 18,854 kg, according to INE.
The country's silver production in June fell 5.3% year on year to 96,736 kg and by 7.2% to 563,646 kg in the first six months of the year, the data show.
Source : SP Global
Aluminum-Carbon Nanotubes Could Replace Copper Wiring in Cars – Report
Talk of materials used in cars usually centers on carbon fiber and aluminum that help reduce the weight of the body, but there’s another material that is crucial to modern cars copper. New cars are laced with wiring for everything from infotainment systems to driver-assist sensors. But automakers would like to replace all of that copper with something else, reports Automotive News. Aluminum-carbon nanotubes could offer the conductivity of copper wiring, while reducing weight. Japan’s Yazaki Corporation is investigating this new material at its California research and development subsidiary, YTC America, according to Automotive News.
The average vehicle contains 30 pounds to 60 pounds of copper, according to Automotive News. Aluminum is much lighter than copper, but in its raw form, the metal isn’t suitable for automotive wiring. Aluminum only has 60 percent of the conductivity of copper, and 25 to 30 percent of copper’s tensile strength, according to Automotive News.
That’s why Yazaki is experimenting with combining aluminum with carbon nanotubes. Those nanotubes are cylindrical molecules of carbon atoms, which make up microscopically fine strands of material that are added to aluminum. This gives the aluminum greater strength and conductivity, Yazaki claims. The carbon nanotube material also raises the heat resistance of aluminum, allowing it to be used in high-voltage battery cables for electric cars, Stefan Maat, YTC America director of materials research and development, said in an interview with Automotive News.
As with all research, promising test results for aluminum-carbon nanotubes may not translate into something that is commercially feasible. But automakers are eager for anything that can cut pounds from their cars.
The quest to shed weight has traditionally been associated with racing and performance road cars. Reducing weight improves everything from acceleration to handling, after all. But weight reduction has become a priority for all kinds of vehicles, from pickup trucks to luxury sedans, in order to improve fuel economy. Stricter global emissions standards are putting automakers under more pressure to lower fuel consumption. The average weight of new cars has also crept up as demand for safety and convenience features has increased, and automakers need to do something to counteract that.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Growing EV Infrastructure to Drive Copper Demand – Wood Mackenzie
Growing fears of a global economic slowdown continue to weigh on the copper demand, but Wood Mackenzie sees potential growth as demand grows for electrical vehicles. Henry Salsibury, research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said “More than 20 million electric vehicle charging stations are expected to be deployed globally by 20230, consuming 250% more copper compared to 2019. As it stands, range anxiety, worrying that a battery will run out of power mid-journey, is a key psychological barrier standing in the way of more widespread EV adoption. One way to address this is to roll out more charging infrastructure. As this happens, more connections to the electrical grid will be required and more copper will be needed as the network expands.”
According to the research firm, coppers physical properties make it the best base metal to conduct electricity and accommodate the higher temperatures common in electric vehicles. While aluminium is the closest alternatives, aluminium cables need to have a cross-sectional area that is double the size of any copper equivalent to conduct the same amount of electricity, the company said.
Along with meeting growing infrastructure demand, Salsibury noted that electric vehicles consume about three times more copper than internal combustion engines. He said “The amount goes up as the size of the vehicle increases. For example, a fully electric bus uses between 11 and 16 times more copper than an ICE passenger vehicle - depending on the size of the battery and the actual bus.”
He said “By 2040, we predict that passenger EVs will consume more than 3.7 million tonne of copper every year. In comparison, passenger internal combustion engine vehicles will need just over 1 million tonne. If we look at cumulative demand, between now and 2040 passenger EVs will consume 35.4 million tonne of copper, around 5 million tonnes more than is required to meet current passenger ICE demand.”
The report comes as copper prices struggle to find momentum after falling to a two-year low at the start of the month. September high-grade copper prices last traded at $2.5815 a pound, down 0.29% on the day.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Copper Climbs after US Delays Plans to Impose New Tariffs
Copper prices climbed on Tuesday after the United States said its plans to impose 10% tariffs on some Chinese products would be delayed, which helped ease worries about growth and demand in top consumer China. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended up 1.5% at USD 5,828.5 a tonne. Tai Wong, head of metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets, said “Copper led the surge in base metals after the US appeared to walk back on Trump’s draconian tariff plans. The news triggered the covering of short copper positions bets on lower prices.”
One copper trader said the knee-jerk reaction to the headlines may not last and we need to see more detail.
A month long trade truce between China and the United States was shattered earlier this month, when President Donald Trump vowed to impose a 10% tariff on USD 300 billion of Chinese imports from September 1. But office of the US Trade Representative said that Trump administration will delay imposing a 10% tariff on some Chinese products.
Source : Reuters
Chinese Copper Tube & Pipe Producers Slow Down in July
SMM reported that operations across Chinese manufacturers of copper tubes and pipes in July continued to slow on both yearly and monthly basis as a seasonal lull intensified. SMM survey data showed that operating rates across copper tube and pipe producers averaged 80.24% last month, down 9.25 percentage points from July 2018 and down 6.14 percentage points from June. The survey covered 19 producers, with total capacity of 2.13 million tonne on an annualised basis.
Orders for copper tube and pipe slipped as their major domestic consumer, air conditioner producers, continued to be frustrated by high inventories of finished products. Some other downstream producers began summer break in July, and this also deterred consumption for copper tube, pipe.
Industrial data showed that domestic sales across China’s top producers of air conditioners in July fell 11 percentage points from a year ago.
The ratio of raw material inventory to output at copper tube and pipe producers continued to grow 0.35 percentage point from a month ago to stand at 14.5% in July, as consumption weakened more than expected. But the absolute quantity in raw material inventories shrank as producers kept from holding too much feedstock amid weak demand.
SMM expects the operating rates across Chinese copper tube, pipe producers to extend their declines by 4.63 percentage points month on month and 4.18 percentage points year on year to 75.61% in August.
Source : SMM
Ukraine Increases Imports of Copper By 22%
Open4Business reported that Ukrainian enterprises increased imports of copper and copper products in terms of money by 22.1% in January to July 2019 compared with similar period of 2018, to USD 63.366 million. According to customs statistics released by the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, exports of copper and copper products decreased 48.3% over the year to USD 52.164 million. In July, copper and copper products were imported to the tune of USD 10.336 million, and copper exports were estimated at USD 5.990 million.
In addition, through seven months of 2019 Ukraine decreased imports of nickel and products made of it by 10.1%, to USD 52.833 million (imports in July were estimated at USD 8.520 million), while imports of aluminum and products made of it increased 8.4%, to USD 228.420 million (USD 40.390 million). Imports of lead and products made of it decreased by 1.7%, to USD 7.481 million (USD 1.143 million) and imports of tin and products made of it decreased 17.4%, to USD 2.038 million (USD 377,000). Imports of zinc and zinc goods decreased 18.7%, to USD 41.868 million (USD 9.384 million).
Exports of aluminum and products made of it decreased 27.4% in January to July 2019, to USD 60.540 million (USD 9.177 million in July alone), while shipments of lead abroad decreased 34.1%, to USD 14.914 million (USD 2.432 million). Exports of nickel fell by 39.8%, to USD 3.267 million (USD 0.274 million in July).
Zinc exports in January-July 2019 amounted to USD 385,000 (USD 28,000 in July) compared to USD 148,000 in January to July 2018.
Exports of tin and products made of it in January to July 2019 were estimated at USD 30,000 (some USD 1,000 in July) compared to USD 269,000 in January to July 2018.
Source : Open4Business
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