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

Copper prices ended the week on a high note, trading at US$5,755 per tonne on Thursday (September 26).

The metal started the week below the U$5,700 mark at US$5,694, but optimism about US-China trade talks supported metal prices throughout the week.

“A lot of the negative impact of the trade war is already built into prices of copper and other industrial metals,” SP Angel analyst John Meyer told Reuters. “Every time the market thinks a deal may not be too far away, prices pick up.”

US-China trade negotiations are set to resume on October 10 in Washington, as per a report from CNBC.

Despite edging up on Thursday, nickel prices were on track for a weekly loss. Starting the trading week at US$17,750 per tonne, prices were down at US$17,360 by the end of the five day period.

Looking over to zinc, prices ticked up on Thursday, trading at US$2,337 per tonne. The metal, used to galvanize steel, hit its lowest point on Wednesday (September 25) at US$2,287.50.

Iron ore prices remained almost unchanged throughout the week, kicking off on Monday (September 23) at US$93.49 per tonne and ending the week at US$92.89.

Top base metals news stories

1. Western Copper and Gold: Gold May Still Run, Copper Definitely Will

The gold price may be flying high, but Paul West-Sells, president and CEO of Western Copper and Gold (TSX:WRN,NYSEAMERICAN:WRN), believes copper has plenty of upside potential as well.

“I think US$1,500 (per ounce) gold is very exciting for everybody,” he said on the sidelines of the Precious Metals Summit in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

“(But) the thing actually that I find quite interesting is that there’s a couple of the funds we met with that were more interested in our copper than our gold. These are mining funds and they sort of said, ‘Look, gold’s had a good run, we’ve made a lot of money on those equities. We’re selling them and moving into some of the copper ones,’” explained West-Sells.

2. First Quantum Minerals Falls After Denying Takeover Talks

Shares of Canadian copper miner First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM,OTC Pink:FQVLF) plummeted on Monday after it denied rumors that it has received takeover offers.

Last week, a report from Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter, said global miners were interested in First Quantum, which operates Kansanshi — Africa’s largest copper mine. The sources said the company was working with defense advisors to examine its options.

“First Quantum has not engaged in any discussions regarding a takeover bid or other change of control transaction and has no knowledge of potential takeover bids, change of control transactions or proposals,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

3. 3 Copper Stocks to Watch in 2019

Copper prices have performed with volatility in the past three months as uncertainty surrounding US-China trade talks continues to hit the space.

Concerns about demand from China, the world’s top consumer, have also hurt the base metal in recent weeks. Prices have been trending around the US$5,700 mark, significantly down from the yearly high they hit in March at US$6,570.

In their latest report, Raymond James analysts shared their top copper stocks to watch in 2019 and reduced their average annual copper price forecast.

Also in the news

After receiving demands by environmental groups and parent company Andes Iron, the Dominga copper mining project will have to be reviewed again by an environmental tribune, Chile’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Zambia has decided not to replace its value-added tax with a non-refundable sales tax, which is a major concession to mining companies that fiercely opposed the proposal. Zambia is Africa’s second largest copper producer.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Western Copper and Gold is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.


A growing supply deficit pushed palladium to US$2,892 per ounce this week before a mild correction forced values lower.

A growing supply deficit pushed the palladium price to US$2,892 per ounce this week before a mild correction forced values lower.

Shortages of the autocatalyst metal are expected to reach a five year high this year, a factor that will likely add more upside in the months ahead.

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Supported by a declining US dollar, gold maintained the gains it made at the beginning of May to sit above US$1,800 per ounce this week.

Gold maintained gains made at the beginning of May to sit above US$1,800 per ounce this week.

A drop in the US dollar pushed the yellow metal to the US$1,840 range before concerns over rising inflation and a potential interest rate increase muted gains.

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The other precious metals were also in the green and moving higher to start the month. Meanwhile, copper hit an all-time high.

The gold price was on an upward trend this week, ultimately breaching the important US$1,800 per ounce level for the first time since February 22.

After slipping to US$1,735 to end the second month of the year, gold values struggled to gain momentum in March. As headwinds from 10 year Treasury yields and the US dollar dissipated, concerns over inflation mounted, allowing the yellow metal to edge higher through April.

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Cigar Lake was the largest producer of uranium in 2020. But what are the other top uranium mines? Find out here.

In 2020, world uranium mine production came to 56,287 tonnes of U3O8. Kazakhstan was the top-producing country by far at 19,477 tonnes, followed by Australia and Namibia.

Together, those three nations accounted for over two-thirds of uranium mining, with Kazakhstan taking a 41 percent share. Additionally, a wide variety of uranium-mining companies contribute to the world's production.

But where in the world are the top uranium mines? While many of them are located in Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia, that's not the case for all of the largest uranium mines.

To give investors a better idea of where the top uranium mines are located and where the nuclear fuel comes from, the Investing News Network has put together a list of the 10 biggest uranium mines in the world, based on the latest statistics and information from the World Nuclear Association. Read on to learn more about uranium miners, plus uranium reserves and uranium exploration.

1. Cigar Lake

2020 production: 3,885 tonnes

Northern Saskatchewan-based Cigar Lake is number one on this list of the world's top uranium mines. It is known for being the highest-grade uranium mine, with an average grade of 14.69 percent U3O8.

Uranium miner Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ) owns 50 percent of Cigar Lake and is the mine's operator. Ore from the underground mining property is processed at Orano's McClean Lake mill, located 70 kilometers from the mine.

Throughout 2020, operations were halted and started only to be halted again by a series of coronavirus outbreaks. Cameco restarted uranium production in April 2021 only to have to again close up shop temporarily in July 2021 as fires in the region led to evacuations.

Cigar Lake was commissioned in 2014 and began commercial uranium production in May 2015. It accounted for 8 percent of global uranium output in 2020. Orano (37.1 percent), Idemitsu Uranium Exploration Canada (7.875 percent) and TEPCO Resources (5 percent) also hold stakes in the mine.

2. Husab

2020 production: 3,302 tonnes

The Husab open-pit uranium mine in Namibia is owned by Swakop Uranium, a partnership between China and Namibia. Epangelo Mining Company, a Namibian state-owned entity, owns 10 percent of Swakop, while Taurus Minerals holds the other 90 percent; Taurus itself is owned by China General Nuclear Power Group and the China Africa Development Fund.

According to the Namibia Uranium Association, Husab represents China's single largest investment in Africa. Husab was discovered in 2008, and produced its first drum of uranium oxide for export in December 2016. As of 2020, the operation accounted for 7 percent of global uranium production.

3. Olympic Dam

2020 production: 3,062 tonnes

Next up on this list of top uranium mines is the Olympic Dam mine, which is owned by BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP). The mine produces copper, along with uranium, gold and silver. Olympic Dam, which has underground and surface operations, plus a fully integrated processing facility, has been in action since 1988, and in 2020 its output accounted for 6 percent of the world's uranium production.

Australia has the largest uranium reserves in the world, and holds about 30 percent of potential global supply. As mentioned, in 2020 the country was the world's second largest producer behind Kazakhstan.

4. Inkai, sites 1 to 3

2020 production: 2,693 tonnes

The in situ recovery Inkai uranium mine is a joint venture between Cameco (40 percent) and uranium miner Kazatomprom (LSE:KAP) (60 percent). Inkai accounted for 6 percent of the world's uranium output in 2020.

Kazatomprom's operations have been impacted by COVID-19, with the company announcing in early April 2020 that it would be reducing operational activities at all of its mines in Kazakhstan for several months. In August, the company resumed operations, but said its planned production levels through 2022 would decrease by 20 percent.

5. Karatua (Budenovskoye 2)

2020 production: 2,460 tonnes

The in situ recovery Budenovskoye 2 operation, located in Kazakhstan at the Karatau mine, produced 5 percent of the world's uranium in 2020. The Karatau mine is owned by the Karatau joint venture, a Kazakh-registered limited liability partnership that is held by uranium producer Kazatomprom and Uranium One.

Uranium One is a subsidiary of ROSATOM, Russia's state-owned nuclear energy company. Uranium One takes care of ROSATOM's uranium output outside Russia.

Karatau started producing in 2009, and the joint venture has the right to carry on exploration, mining and sales operations at Budenovskoye 2 under a long-term subsoil use contract with Kazakhstan.

6. Rö​ssing

2020 production: 2,111 tonnes

The Namibia-based Rössing uranium mine was responsible for 4 percent of the world's production in 2020. The open pit has operated since 1976 and was the country's first commercial uranium mine.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) was the company that brought Rössing into production, but it is no longer involved in the mine. In November 2018, Rio Tinto announced that it would be selling its majority stake of 68.62 percent, and it completed the sale in July 2019. Rio Tinto sold its share of Rössing to China National Uranium.

Aside from China National Uranium, a number of companies have interests in Rössing. The Namibian government has 3 percent, the Iranian Foreign Investment Company has 15 percent, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa owns 10 percent and individual shareholders own the rest.


2020 production: 1,879 tonnes

SOMAIR is a subsidiary of uranium producer Orano that operates in Niger; it is 63.4 percent owned by Orano and 36.66 percent owned by Sopamin, the state agency that manages mining in Niger. SOMAIR is responsible for a large uranium mine, as is Cominak, another nearby Orano subsidiary in Niger. SOMAIR began production in 1971.

Uranium mining will begin at a third site near SOMAIR and Cominak when market conditions are more favorable. SOMAIR produced 4 percent of the world's production for uranium in 2020.

8. Four Mile

2020 production: 1,806 tonnes

Quasar Resources' Four Mile in situ leach operation is the second top uranium mine in Australia. The high-grade, roll-front deposit was discovered in 2005 about 8 kilometers from the formerly producing Beverly uranium mine. Construction of the mine began in December 2013, followed by commercial production in June 2014.

Four Mile produced 4 percent of the world's production for uranium in 2020. The deposit is also prospective for iron-oxide copper-gold mineralization.

9. South Inkai (Block 4)

2020 production: 1,509 tonnes

The South Inkai in situ mine is another property held jointly by Uranium One (indirect 70 percent) and Kazatomprom (30 percent). Production began at South Inkai in 2009 and it accounted for 3 percent of the world's uranium production in 2020.

10. Kharasan 1

2020 production: 1,455 tonnes

Kharasan is an in situ leach operation in the Syr Darya basin of the Kyzylorda region in Kazakhstan. The uranium mine is owned by Kazatomprom (33.98 percent) and Uranium One (30 percent). A consortium of Japanese utilities and a trading company hold the remainder.

Commercial production at Kharasan began in 2013, and in 2020 the operation accounted for 3 percent of the world's uranium production.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

The investigation of psychedelic drugs for their medical benefits is attracting investors. How does the leading US drug agency feel?

The development of the psychedelics industry depends on myriad factors, but one of the most critical is its relationship with a principal medical authority.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the leading authority for drug approvals in the US. This federal body determines whether medical products will ultimately reach the hands of patients.

The FDA reviews the clinical data created by established medical studies evaluating the feasibility of drug compounds or products as treatments for specific ailments.

As a federal agency, the FDA has to adhere to federal policy for drugs in the US. The country's national drug-scheduling system provides data on all kinds of drugs and the regulations they must follow.

Several psychedelic compounds currently find themselves in the Schedule I category, which receives the heaviest scrutiny in the eyes of federal authorities. Cannabis is also listed in this segment.

If this is the case, then why are companies in the psychedelic drug development space pursuing clinical studies and looking for FDA approval? Interestingly, despite the legal status of these drugs, the FDA isn't so closed off that it won't examine their potential.

During the first Prohibition Partners LIVE online event, Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), told the audience he sees the FDA as an engaged partner in conversations surrounding the construction of clinical trials with psychedelic agents.

Doblin added that he perceives the FDA as a regulatory agency willing to put science over politics when it comes to the medical benefits of psychedelics. MAPS is investigating the use of MDMA as a method of psychotherapy for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 2017, this psychedelics-based method was granted "breakthrough therapy" designation by the FDA in a move that represented a change in the drug authority's perspective.

In October 2021, Doblin said MAPS expects to finish its second Phase 3 trial of MDMA in October 2022.

MAPS is a non-profit organization that is not looking to change its status anytime soon. While the group does take donations, investors looking to play the market are interested largely in public companies.

In late 2020, the psychedelics investment market saw excitement when Compass Pathways (NASDAQ:CMPS) listed directly onto a senior US stock exchange.

Similar to MAPS' method, the work done by Compass Pathways has also received support from the FDA. In 2018, the company confirmed the receipt of "breakthrough therapy" designation from the FDA for its study of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) using psilocybin. In November 2021, Compass Pathways reported positive topline data from a completed Phase IIb clinical trial of psilocybin therapy for TRD. The company also announced that it is beginning a Phase II psilocybin therapy trial for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Significance of changing mentality on psychedelics

A report by Psychedelic Support highlights the fact that the FDA and National Institutes of Health have commented on the medical benefits associated with psychedelics-based treatments.

"The message was clear. The FDA will evaluate risk-benefit profile of psychedelic substances in the same way as other investigational drugs," the report indicates.

According to the report, the agency's requirements for clinical trial designs highlight the following specifications:

  • How psychedelics work in a particular setting.
  • Timing of administration.
  • Structured approach or will multiple approaches work?
  • How fast does symptom reduction occur and how long are symptoms decreased?
  • Do people relapse, and if so can the drug retrieve them from relapse?

Investor takeaway

From the information currently available, it's clear that one of the biggest drug authorities in the world appears to be slowly but surely increasing its support of psychedelics.

What's more, the medical indications show a promising market that is already garnering support among investors. The psychedelics space looks set to continue developing as more companies come to market.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.


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