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Copper Stocks in Queensland
Queensland is one of the top three Australian jurisdictions for copper. Here's a look at the companies operating in the state.
While it's well behind South Australia, a behemoth in resources and production, Queensland hosts over 10 percent of all known Australian copper deposits, level with its southern neighbor New South Wales.
A premier mining jurisdiction globally, Queensland is ranked fourth out of all Australian jurisdictions for its mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute. Globally, it's ranked as the 18th most attractive jurisdiction, behind British Columbia in Canada and in line right behind Sweden.
The state is renowned for its mining prowess in Australia and is known as one of the resource states, with a large chunk of its economic heft coming from mining and mining-related operations across the state. Mining accounts for a fairly large portion of Queensland’s economy, specifically coal and liquefied natural gas as main outputs.
Which companies produce copper in Queensland?
Queensland is home to Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF), the second-largest copper producer in Australia. Glencore owns and operates the Enterprise and X41 mines within its Mount Isa mining complex in the northwest region of the state.
Aside from Mount Isa, Glencore owns the nearby Ernest Henry copper mine. Glencore isn't listed on the ASX but can be found on the LSE.
Privately owned copper companies in Queensland
Besides the Mount Isa complex, there's also a handful of other operational mines in the northwestern portion of the state, although most of them are privately owned, such as the Capricorn copper project, which is a joint venture between EMR Capital and Lighthouse Minerals; it secured itself "prescribed project" status in 2017.
Other privately owned projects include Round Oak's Barbara project (in care and maintenance), Chinese-backed CuDECO's Rockland copper project (mothballed, CuDECO in liquidation) and Chinova's Osborne mine — originally set up by Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN,OTCQX:IVPAF), and under care and maintenance. There's also the Balcooma mine, which Royal Gold (NASDAQ:RGLD) has copper royalties on, and the privately owned Mount Cuthbert mine. Many of the mentioned projects ran into trouble in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting company operations. While Queensland has a total of 13 operational copper mines, many are privately owned, making investment opportunities somewhat slim.
Which companies are exploring for copper in Queensland?
Aside from previously mentioned Glencore operations, Red River Resources (ASX:RVR,OTC Pink:RRRDF) owns the Thalanga operation near Charters Towers. Red River acquired Thalanga in 2014 and has been working to develop the historical site back into a viable investment.
Red River is developing Liontown, which is Thalanga’s third mining project. Liontown is an open-pit mine with a projected lifespan of over 10 years and a mineral resource estimate of 4.1 million tonnes of copper at 0.6. In its 2022 Annual Report, Thalanga reported an output of 12,051 tonnes of copper concentrate.
The remaining investment options for Queensland copper stocks are exploration-focused. Copper Mountain Mining (ASX:C6C,OTC Pink:CPPMF), for example, has interests in the Eva copper project, which is — unsurprisingly — in the northwest of the state, near the town of Cloncurry. On October 7, 2022, Copper Mountain Mining announced its decision to sell its Eva copper project to Harmony Gold Mining Company for up to US$230 million. Eva is still in the development phase, with a feasibility study completed in early 2020 projecting a 15 year mine life with an expected output of 31,200 tonnes of copper per day.
There is also Global Energy Metals (TSXV:GEMC,OTCQB:GBLEF), which, like Glencore, isn't on the ASX, but has its sights set on its Millennium cobalt-copper-gold project and others near Mount Isa — all in the exploration stage.
Aside from that, Strategic Energy Resources (ASX:SER) acquired exploration licenses from Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM,OTC Pink:NCMGF) in May 2021 for licenses around Mount Isa. The now fully owned Isa Undercover initiative consists of two projects near Mount Isa: the Isa North, and the Canobie Projects. Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC) is exploring the fully owned Develin Creek copper-zinc project. The project has a mineral resource estimate of 2.57 million tonnes of 1.76 percent copper and 2.01 percent zinc. Zenith divested another copper project, Flanagans, in June 2021 by selling its interests to a private company for AU$450,000.
Copper has a variety of uses across the industrial and technology sectors, and many mining companies continue to capitalise on the value of this resource.
For more on Australia's copper landscape, click the links below:
This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2021.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Marlee John, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Originally from a smaller town just outside of Toronto, Marlee has a BA in English from York University. Marlee is comfortable writing about various topics and has a passion for journalism and current events. Outside of writing she loves reading, music and peanut butter on a spoon.
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