Base Metals Weekly Round-up: Copper Takes the Lead

- September 13th, 2019

What happened in the base metals space this week? Here’s a look at the top stories covered by the Investing News Network.

Base metals zigzagged through the market this week, though most ended Thursday (September 12) on a downward note.

While zinc fell slightly on Tuesday (September 10), hitting a weekly low of US$2,297 per tonne, the commodity jumped to US$2,364 on Wednesday (September 11). The base metal simmered to US$2,355 by Thursday.

Meanwhile, lead saw its weekly high on Tuesday at US$2,103 per tonne. The commodity went on to waver on Wednesday, then plunged back to Monday’s (September 9) price of US$2,084 by Thursday.

Elsewhere, recent base metal superstar nickel spent the week trending upwards to peak at US$18,320 per tonne on Wednesday. It hit a snag on Thursday, however, when it fell to US$18,175 per tonne.

In the case of copper, the red metal saw its weekly low on Tuesday at US$5,737.50 per tonne. It then went on to trend upwards through the week’s second half, ending Thursday in the green at US$5,842.

As for iron ore, the metal has been struggling to retain its strength found in the summer months. While the commodity made gains to close Thursday at US$94.14 per tonne, the metal had fallen to US$89.43 by 2:28 a.m. EDT on Friday (September 13).

Top News Stories

1. Havilah Shareholders Turn Down AU$100 Million GFG Investment

Despite previous signals pointing towards a greenlit deal, Havilah Resources’ (ASX:HAV) shareholders have rejected a proposed AU$100 million investment from SIMEC Mining, a member of the GFG Alliance.

Originally announced in May, the share subscription agreement was set to provide funding to Havilah for work programs at its Maldorky, Grants and Grants Basin iron ore assets, along with the Mutooroo copper deposit and its nearby prospects in South Australia.

The extra cash, which Havilah called a “transformational capital injection” at the time, was to be received over a three year period while the company completed definitive feasibility studies for its assets. If all the funding was to go through as planned, GFG would have been eligible to earn up to a 51 percent stake in Havilah in return.

2. Nyrstar Shareholders Launch Lawsuit Against Trafigura

After years of financial struggles, Nyrstar (OTC Pink:NYRSY,EBR:NYR) shareholders are allegedly pointing the blame at major stakeholder Trafigura Group.

Nyrstar, one of the world’s largest zinc refiners, has been rattled with financial and operational issues for some time now. In April, the company announced that Trafigura would be taking control of the smelter in an attempt to save it from bankruptcy.

The lockup deal laid out interim funding agreements, which would restructure the company’s balance sheet and make Trafigura the majority owner.

3. Nickel Ore Output Grows in the Philippines

Nickel ore output from the Philippines, one of the world’s largest producers of the commodity, grew 3 percent in 2019’s first half, according to government data.

The country was cited as having produced 11.31 million dry metric tonnes (dmt) of nickel ore between January and June, according to Reuters, compared to 11.01 million tonnes during the same time frame in 2018. Last year, nickel ore output fell 4 percent to 25.9 million dmt, putting it in second place behind Indonesia for production.

This year’s growth helped the country reclaim the top spot globally. The upward movement also comes in spite of the fact that 16 of the 31 nickel mines in the Philippines were shuttered during 2019’s first half for either maintenance or environmental issues.

Also in the news

Excelsior Mining (TSX:MIN,OTCQX:EXMGF) completed production wellfield drilling at the Gunnison copper project in Arizona this week. Referring to the drilling as the most critical component of the company’s construction schedule, Excelsior remains on-track to see first production in Q4 2019.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry increased Freeport Indonesia’s — a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) — copper concentrate export quota. Previously at 198,282 wet metric tonnes (wmt), the quota has now been tripled to 700,000 wmt after successful optimization schemes at Freeport’s Grasberg copper-gold mine.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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