Execs from NorthIsle Copper and Gold, Astorius Resources, Western Copper and Gold and Carube Copper share their copper forecast for 2018.
This time last year, many market participants were cautiously optimistic about copper in 2017. But the base metal has performed better than expected, surging more than 18 percent year-to-date.
To learn more about what companies forecast for the copper market in 2018, the Investing News Network reached out to company executives and CEOs in the space.
Jack McClintock, president, CEO and director of NorthIsle Copper and Gold (TSXV:NCX); Jason Powell, investor relations manager of Astorius Resources (TSXV:ASQ); Paul West-Sells, CEO of Western Copper and Gold (TSX:WRN); and Jeffrey Ackert, president and CEO of Carube Copper (TSXV:CUC), were able to provide insight.
Copper forecast 2018: Copper is the commodity to watch
As mentioned, copper has trended up since the start of the year. Prices rallied in the fourth quarter, breaking the $7,000-per-tonne mark, and have been trading at around that level since then. As a result, many experts remain bullish on the red metal for the months ahead.
Speaking about copper in 2017, Astorius’ Powell said it has been a great year so far for metals, and noted that he expects copper to end the year strong. “We have been very pleased with the performance of copper since the economy has been strong, and it has had an impact on the copper price,” he said.
Similarly, Western Copper’s West-Sells said it has been an exciting time in the copper space. He believes that at this rate of price increase, copper could reach $3.20 per pound before the year ends.
“There are some fundamental reasons for why copper is as strong as it is. These include reasonable demand from China, the US and Europe and, more importantly, the current level of supply,” he noted, explaining that there’s a dearth of supply due to a lack of new mines.
“Investors and speculators are aware of this and, as a result, the price of copper is rising in anticipation of the need for a larger supply, which necessitates higher copper prices,” West-Sells added.
Meanwhile, NorthIsle’s McClintock said the market this year performed largely as he expected, but short of what he had hoped for, as investors are still not interested in the junior sector. “I hope that will change as the producers begin to post strong profits over the next two quarters,” he said.
Looking ahead to next year, Astorius’ Powell believes copper will remain one of the top commodities to watch. “The economy is very strong and this will have an impact on copper as a commodity,” he added.
NorthIsle’s McClintock also expects to see an improvement over the next two quarters, and a recovery in 2018. For that reason, “now is the time to be accumulating shares in the junior resource market.”
For his part, Carube’s Ackert said he is very bullish on copper prices due to strong demand for copper in the form of the electrification of vehicles. “It’s the junior explorers that are taking the risk at this point … to find the new deposits that will feed this demand and enable consumers for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years down the road. I think we’re in a good space at a very good time,” he commented.
Copper forecast 2018: What’s ahead for companies
As the year comes to a close, the executives shared their highlights from 2017 and commented on catalysts to look forward in the year ahead.
In 2017, Astorius Resources announced a $1-million financing in October, which was completed in November and oversubscribed. “[Moving forward,] we are well financed and acquired a new project in Argentina, the Taca Taca West project. We also have the Condor copper-gold property in Ecuador next to Lundin Gold’s (TSX:LUG) Fruta del Norte world-class gold discovery, [which is] going into production in 2020,” Powell said.
Meanwhile, NorthIsle Copper and Gold completed a preliminary economic assessment at its North Island copper-gold project with positive results this year. “[In 2018,] we plan to drill the blue sky targets on our project, and any one of these could be a game changer,” McClintock said.
For its part, Western Copper is focused on developing its Casino project in Canada’s Yukon territory. One of the major highlights in 2017 was the announcement from the federal government of a $360-million infrastructure package to develop roads that access Casino.
“What is particularly exciting for Western and its shareholders is that approximately $130 million of that package will go directly to roads providing access to the Casino project,” West-Sells said.
Lastly, Carube Copper has been focusing on its drilling program at Bellas Gate project in Jamaica. “In terms of what’s happening next, within our 11 licenses there are two licenses that we want to prepare for drilling. We may not get to the drill stage this year, but we expect to do some basic exploration work, including ground geophysics and soil geochemistry,” Ackert added.
Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, 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.
Astorius Resources, Carube Copper, NorthIsle Copper and Gold and Western Copper and Gold are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.