Copper Rebounds as Chinese Exports Jump

After slumping from a two-and-a-half-month high early last week, copper prices rose again Thursday as the US dollar fell against other currencies and China reported that its exports grew 14.1 percent in December. Still, investors remain cautious because China’s copper imports fell amid high stockpiles of the metal.

“The fact that China’s exports have improved so much is read as a sign that world demand may be better than initially thought,” The Wall Street Journal quoted Standard Bank analyst Walter de Wet as saying.

The gain was substantial against the 2.9-percent increase in exports reported in November, but Reuters cited analysts as cautioning that the strong increase was in part the result of comparatively low figures in 2011 and exporters clearing year-end orders.

Moreover, China, which consumes about 40 percent of the world’s copper, imported 6.6 percent less copper in December as plants reduced their purchases due to low cash flows.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for three-month delivery rose to $8,110 per tonne, up 0.4 percent from the $8,080 closing price on Monday. COMEX copper for March delivery was up 1 percent at $3.7060 per pound in early afternoon trade in New York.

Company news

Anglo American (LSE:AAL) appointed Mark Cutifani, the CEO of AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), as its new CEO. The current CEO, Cynthia Carroll, will step down at an April shareholders’ meeting and will leave the company at the end of that month.

First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM,LSE:FQM) mailed its C$72-per-share offer for Inmet Mining (TSX:IMN) directly to Inmet’s shareholders. They can choose to get their consideration all in cash, in First Quantum shares or in a combination of the two. The offer values Inmet at C$5.1 billion.

Tiger Resources (ASX:TGS,TSX:TGS) said that the stage-two feasibility study for its Kipoi copper project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo shows an after-tax net present value of $378 million at a copper price of $3.40 in the years 2014 to 2017 and a price of $3 from 2018. Separately, the company said that 2012 production at Kipoi was 36,962 tonnes of copper in concentrate, exceeding the company’s previous estimate by 6 percent. It said production in 2013 will be maintained at 37,000 tonnes at average direct cash operating costs of 48 cents per pound.

Nord Resources (OTC Pink:NRDSentered into a new copper cathode sales agreement with Red Kite Master Fund for 100 percent of the production from the Johnson Camp mine in Arizona after the old agreement expired end of December. The new agreement runs through March of this year, with options for renewable extensions.

Chile’s copper commission said the country will delay 11 of 45 copper and gold mining projects, according to Minerandina, a weekly electronic mining publication. It said the delayed projects comprise $38.9 billion in total deferred investments. The commission cited availability and cost of power supplies, environmental assessments and difficulty obtaining building infrastructure permits.

Junior company news

Western Copper and Gold (TSX:WRN) said the feasibility study of its Casino copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in the Yukon shows that the project has a $1.8 billion after-tax net present value at long-term metal prices. The study recommends that the project be constructed as an open-pit mine and estimates production of 399,000 ounces of gold, 245 million pounds of copper, 15 million pounds of molybdenum and 1.8 million ounces of silver per year in the first four years of production.

Nautilus Minerals (TSX:NUS,LSE:NUS) said it has “become aware through a news release” that Michael Bailey and an entity controlled by Bailey intend to make an unsolicited offer to acquire the company. Nautilus said it has had no contact with Bailey, nor did it have prior knowledge of the offer, so it is “unable to make any determinations regarding the offer or its validity.” The company said its board will consider the offer “if and when it is formally made.”

Sierra Metals (TSXV:SMT) expanded drilling depth at its Yauricocha mine in Peru and has extended mineralization at an additional 150 meters at the Rosaura and Antacaca Sur orebodies. “The high grade intercepts over wide widths … indicate that the mineralizing processes in this area were strong even in the deepest levels of the mine and we expect that these orebodies will continue to significant depths,” CEO Daniel Tellechea said in a statement.

Redhawk Resources (TSX:RDKacquired over 1.4 square miles of additional properties adjacent to its Copper Creek project in Arizona, bringing the total land package to around 35 square miles. The added land is patented and subject to exploration and may potentially contain mineral resources.

Curis Resources (TSX:CUV) said a metallurgical test in advance of a prefeasibility study at its Florence copper project in Arizona suggests that “overall copper recovery of approximately 70 percent will be achieved from a typical mineralized block.” General manager Dan Johnson said in a statement that “[i]mproved copper recoveries, combined with a revised mineral extraction plan and updated capital and operating cost estimates, are expected to further confirm Florence Copper as having the potential to be one of the lowest cost near term copper producers in the world.”

Tirex Resouces (TSXV:TXXreceived all mining licenses and environmental permits for its Mirdita project in Albania, meaning that mining operations can now start.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Ragnhild Kjetland, hold no investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

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