Base Metals Weekly Round-Up: Copper’s Fall from Grace

Base Metals Investing

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

This week was a mixed bag for base metals, with some leaping and others nosediving.

Nickel’s price increased significantly this week after Indonesia’s nickel export ban took full effect. On Thursday (October 31), the metal closed the market at US$16,830 per tonne, a significant jump from its Monday (October 28) price of US$16,675.

Copper saw a downturn, dropping from its Monday price of US$5,888 per tonne to US$5,823. Although the metal struggled this week, there was some good news for the copper industry — the government of Peru finally gave Southern Copper (NYSE:SCCO) the go ahead to develop its Tia Maria project.

Zinc also fell, sinking from its Monday price of US$2,575 per tonne to US$2542.50 on Thursday.

Iron, like the other base metals, struggled this week, hitting its peak early and falling to a low by Thursday. Iron declined from US$90.23 per tonne on Monday to US$89.55 on Thursday.

Lead rose quickly only to fall this week, with prices hitting a peak on Tuesday (October 29) at US$2,265 per tonne only to drop to US$2,209 on Thursday.

Top base metals news stories

1. Indonesia Bans Nickel Ore Exports Effective Immediately

On Monday, the Indonesian government announced plans to roll out its nickel ore export ban immediately. Wood Mackenzie analysts expect this move will remove 190,000 tonnes of nickel ore from circulation by 2021.

2. Peru Gives Southern Copper All Clear for Tia Maria Project

Following years of back and forth, the government of Peru has finally given Southern Copper the approval it requires to continue development at the Tia Maria project.

The mine has struggled to move forward due to pushback from local communities that are concerned about the environmental impact such a mine could have on its locality.

3. Rio Tinto Has High Hopes for Iron Ore in 2020

On Thursday, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) announced that its shipment guidance will increase by 5 percent between 2019 and 2020, subject to market conditions; the company will announce official numbers in January 2020.

Rio Tinto’s main iron ore project, Pilbara, has struggled to produce this year due to poor weather conditions.

Also in the news

After a collapse in Brazil killed hundreds, the Church of England led a study about the safety of dams at mines and recently put out a report. It shows that 10 percent of dam structures have stability issues.

In Chile, BHP (ASX:BHP,LSE:BHP,NYSE:BHP) announced that its Escondida copper mine is operating at a reduced rate as union workers have walked off the job in solidarity with protesters in the city.

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

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