Base Metals Weekly Round-Up: Russia No Concern For Ukraine Iron

- February 22nd, 2019

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

In the news this week, Democratic candidates scrambling to take on US President Donald Trump in 2020 continue to pile up, though 2016 primary runner-up and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is surging to the head of the pack less than a week after he announced his candidacy.

Donald Trump is already having fun with that.

In the UK, pro-leave campaigners are having a harder time claiming there will be plenty of jobs left after Honda (TSE:7267) announced it was bailing.

Besides the bedlam of global politics, over in sanity of the commodity sector, base metals were overall on the up.

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Everyone’s favorite red metal, copper was up 1.93 percent by Thursday (February 21), trading at US$6,390 a tonne, while the moonlighting battery metal nickel was also up 3 percent to US$12,710, getting closer to its year-to-date high of US$12,925.

Zinc is also heading back towards its year-to-date high, trading at US$2,697.5 — almost ten percent higher than where it started 2019 after a horror 2018.

Iron is also still on the up in the aftermath of Vale’s (NYSE:VALE) tailings dam disaster last month, with the Brazilian government cracking down harder and harder on the mining giant, while other iron ore companies around the world look to cover their bases.

Base metals top news stories

In top news this week, Hudbay Minerals (TSX:HBM,NYSE:HBM) still has Waterton Global Resource Management bagging it out to shareholders, while shareholders of Euro Sun Mining (TSX:ESM,OTC Pink:CPNFF) didn’t react marvelously to the company’s preliminary economic assessment released this week. Meanwhile, Russia’s shadow means little to miners and investors in Ukraine, where Black Iron (TSX:BKI,OTC Pink:BKIRF) is forging ahead with its Shymanivske project.

1. Major Hudbay Shareholder Takes Another Swing at Leadership

Waterton Global Resource Management has taken another shot at Canadian copper miner Hudbay Minerals, releasing an exhaustive investor presentation detailing grievances with its executives and the company’s performance during their tenure.

The release is a re-iteration of its beef with Hudbay leadership which it aired in January, though Hudbay itself is just getting on with business, telling the INN that Waterton was “long on generalities but very short on specifics”.

2. Euro Sun Says Rovina Shines Bright Despite Falling Shares

Canadian miner Euro Sun Mining (TSX:ESM,OTC Pink:CPNFF) released what it called a positive preliminary economic assessment for a portion of its Rovina gold-copper project in Romania on Wednesday (February 20) and was rewarded with shareholders selling.

On the day, the company’s shares fell by 14 percent to C$0.245 a share, and over the remainder of the week it touched below C$0.23.

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3. Black Iron: Shymanivske Outshines Gloom of War

Operating in Ukraine isn’t something to be concerned about according to Black Iron which is developing the Shymanivske iron ore project there. 450 km away the front line of the War in the Donbass remains static, half a decade after Russia invaded.

Clearly nobody else is worried either, as Black Iron signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Glencore (LSE:GLEN) to fund the project, which has a base product of 68-percent iron content.

In other base metals news

Glencore was at the heart of chilling news on Friday, when officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo announced that 18 people died after an acid truck on its way to Glencore’s Mutanda mine crashed and spilled its contents on to two vehicles.

BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) won’t be posting too many stellar numbers in 2019 following a number of outages in Australia and Chile, while it’s still hurting from its train derailment last year.

In Brazil, the government continues to turn the thumbscrews on the mining industry at the behest of rightful public outrage over the dam collapse in January — Vale’s second tailings failure in five years. The government has now imposed a complete ban on upstream tailings facilities — meaning all currently in operation must close, and no permits will be given in the future. Companies have until August 2021, so they better get a move on.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) has made moves to stay ahead of any negative public opinion, announcing a tailings dam review and a strengthened management program for dams it oversees.

In Chile, miners are up against a usual conundrum: water. The Chilean government has opted to start restricting water rights in the northern portion of the country — which happens to be where most of the copper mining happens.

Still in South America, Newcrest (ASX:NCM) and Cornerstone (TSXV:CGP) have signed an agreement over a number of the Canadian junior’s Ecuadorian assets — though not its 15-percent stake in SolGold’s (TSX:SOLG) Cascabel copper-gold project.

In Indonesia, Grasberg has hit a snag, with PT Freeport Indonesia yet to receive a renewed copper export permit from Jakarta — which is the majority owner of Grasberg.

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

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

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