Monday, January 11, 2010

Copper update: supplies going up and demand is ????

Some recent news on the copper fundamentals. 

A major strike at Codelco's mine lasted but a few days before the large bonus offered by management was accepted (Reuters, 2010 Jan 6)

Vale is restaring the Sudbury smelter which produces nickel and some copper. I don't have stats on how much copper it produces each day but the mine has been out of production since July.  It sounds like this strike will last a while and Vale is willing to bring in replacement workers.   (Reuters, 2010 Jan 7)

Note, from my research I believe the Vale / Sudbury mine is the ONLY copper mine out of action due to a strike. 

BHP's Olympic Dam slowdown due to equipment failure is due to be back up to full capacity by March 31,2010. Full capacity is estimated at ~600 / tons day. (BHP, 2009 October 8)  (BHP, 2009 November 6)  (Wikipedia)

All other major copper mines in the world appear to be running.  If you know of any that are not I'd appreciate an email.

Longer term, the Antamina mine recently won approval for expansion  (BHP, 2010 Jan 5)

On the demand side it is always difficult to know precisely, but copper inventories continue to rise.  The first quarter of the year is seasonally a strong time for copper prices.  I'll post more on the dynamics as I see it soon(tm)

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