According to the director of energy, climate and resources at Eurasia Group, the current global health and economic conditions are set to pave the way for “the age of copper”. Surging copper prices are signalling optimism regarding global growth, despite drastic production drops in Chile, the world’s largest exporter of the metal. Domestically within North America, there has been plenty of to be bullish about, including activities from copper developers such as Bam Bam Resources Corp. (CSE:BBR) (OTC:NPEZF) (FRA:4NPA), Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX:NCU) (OTC:NEVDF), Seabridge Gold Inc. (NYSE:SA) (TSX:SEA), Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX), and Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO).
Copper is in the midst of a 50% pandemic rally, which according to Bloomberg isn’t scaring bulls away. As well, many eyes are on the actions of China, which ultimately could have significant impacts on the global copper market.
As uncertainty looms in the global copper market, due to many production suspensions and halts due to health concerns, there has been plenty of optimism surrounding domestic North American developments due to new drilling, exploration work, and mine restarts.
STRONG DEVELOPMENTS IN NEVADA
Most recently, Bam Bam Resources Corp. (CSE:BBR) (OTC:NPEZF) (FRA:4NPA) reported out of Nevada its latest drill results on its Majuba Hill project, which represent the company’s greatest gold, silver and copper intersects to date.
Among the results of the drill hole MHB-2 was an outstanding 43 feet of 4.0% Cu and 204.4 g/t Ag, within an equally impressive 146 feet (0 to 146 feet) at 1.41 % Cu and 97.6 ppm Ag.
The copper equivalent (CuEq) value for the drill interval with MHB-2 is 146 geet from 0 to 146 feet at 2.38% CuEq.
“These MIDWAY point results in our planned drill program are really just a taste of what this property is evolving into,” said Bam Bam Resources President & CEO, David Greenway.“We have drilled 2 core holes which have absolutely demonstrated that the key elements are present for a significant copper, silver, and gold porphyry property at Majuba. We fully expect our in-progress RC drilling at the Majuba Ridge Extension Zone will expand the known oxide zone. This dollars in the ground approach is bringing Majuba forward as another major copper, silver, and gold porphyry project in Nevada. We remain open on all sides and at depth with grade continuing to improve at depth.”
Also within the state, Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX:NCU) (OTC:NEVDF) is in the process of restarting its mine. Concentrate production was suspended at the company’s underground Pumpkin Hollow project due to health concerns, however, Nevada Copper intends to restart production in August and ramp back up to full production by the end of the year.
Sentiment surrounding the company appeared quite positive as Nevada Copper successfully closed an oversubscribed financing that delivered aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $97 million.
“We are exceptionally pleased with the strong support shown by our existing and new shareholders,” said Evan Spencer, CEO of Nevada Copper. “Given the strong demand, this offering brings multiple benefits to the Company. With this new funding, we look forward to our mill restart next month and commencing ramp-up to full scale production and continuing to advance our other growth and exploration plans.”
INCREASED NORTH AMERICAN COPPER SALES TO COME?
Copper mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) opened the month of July by revising its second-quarter sales estimates upward. The company now expected their Q2 copper sales to come in 8% higher than its previous April estimate of 690 million pounds.
Domestically, the company stated that its North American Lone Star project “is substantially complete and on track to produce approximately 200 million pounds of copper per annum beginning in the second half of 2020.”
Within a month (June 18 to July 18), Freeport-McMoRan’s share price has increased nearly 30%—growing from $10.50 to $13.58.
COPPER-SUPPLY CRUNCH WARNINGS
One of the world’s top miners, Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO) has warned that the current copper-supply crunch could still worsen.
Highlighting employment and trade uncertainties, Rio Tinto has stated that China’s “construction and infrastructure sectors are performing well; house prices and stock markets are also recovering, lending support to consumer confidence.”
“If I look at the Chinese situation, the recovery is well underway,” said Rio’s Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in an interview with Bloomberg. He highlighted that the country is experiencing a V-shaped rebound, supporting iron ore and bauxite.
Unlike Freeport-McMoRan which upgraded its sales estimates, Rio Tinto saw both its copper and aluminum production fall in the second quarter.
CANADIAN COPPER CONTRIBUTIONS
North of the border in Canada, Seabridge Gold Inc. (NYSE:SA) (TSX:SEA) recently began drilling at its Iskut project in British Columbia, to test for a gold-copper porphyry mineral system similar to those on the company’s nearby KSM Project.
“Seabridge acquired the large land package at Iskut because we saw clear evidence of a porphyry system with many of the characteristics of our giant KSM project in rocks of the same age,” said Seabridge Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk. “We are excited that we now have the opportunity to test these ideas.”
Seabridge also recently began drilling twin tunnels to connect its KSM mine to its mill and tailings site.
The drilling will highlight and identify conditions of the rocks along the route and provide Seabridge with information about what kind of excavation technology it should use when it starts tunneling.
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