Weekly Nugget

Codelco Spending $40B to Revamp Ageing Copper Operations

Chile’s state miner Codelco is in the midst of a 10-year, $40-billion initiative to upgrade its wide network of aging operations, which suffer rom sharply falling ore grades.


Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, announced its plans to break ground on a $1.4-billion project to extend the life of its Salvador division to 2068.

The Rajo Inca project will convert Salvador from an underground mine to an open-pit, and requires removing overburden from the mineralized zones.

Salvador has been in operation since 1959 and has the lowest productivity of any of the copper miner’s deposits, producing just 50,600 tonnes, under 3% of Codelco’s total 2020 output.

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China Copper Appetite Reaches Historic Highs

China’s net imports of copper increased by 38% to 4.4 million tonnes last year, breaking every historical record.

The country’s appetite for copper was a million tonnes higher than the previous peak in 2018 and 1.2 million tonnes more than was imported in 2019.

China consumed so much metal out of the global market that copper posted a 600,000-tonne statistical supply-demand deficit, according to the International Copper Study Group. 

Constrained supplies of copper concentrates and copper scrap also contributed to China’s increased purchases of refined metal in 2020.

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Filo Mining Reports 858m of 1.80% CuEq, Discovers New High-Grade Zone at Filo del Sol

Lundin Group company Filo Mining (TSX-V: FIL, OMX: FIL.ST, OTCQX: FLMMF) released drill results from its Filo del Sol project in San Juan province, Argentina.

Drill hole FSDH041 returned the longest high-grade intersection to date on the property. The results showed 163 meters of 5.43% CuEq (2.31% Cu, 2.07g/t Au, 183.0g/t Ag) from 780 meters deep within a broader interval of 858m at 1.80% CuEq (0.86% Cu, 0.70g/t Au, 48.1g/t Ag) from 188 meters deep. The hole ended in mineralization, with the final 20 metres averaging 1.19 %CuEq (0.65% Cu, 0.72g/t Au, 2.3g/t Ag).

In addition, drill hole FSDH037 returned 502 metres of 0.75% CuEq (0.41% Cu, 0.13g/t Au, 27.8g/t Ag) from 380 metres. The intersections reported here lie completely outside of the current mineral resource.

With these latest results, the company believes that the exploration target of between 1.2 and 1.6 billion tonnes at 0.7% to 1.0% CuEq additional to its current resource, will not only be realized but has potential to be expanded. 

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Junkyard Riches? Miners Turn to the First Gen EV Jalopies for Minerals 

The world’s biggest lithium miner wants to recycle battery metals from old cars as demand surges and first generation electric vehicles are traded in.

Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) is making investments with automotive equipment manufacturers on the recycling effort, which it calls “critical” to its future growth.

The miner is looking to grab a share of the market for recovered battery materials as lithium supplies show signs of tightening.

Thirteen years ago the Tesla Roadster made its debut, now the first generation of EVs are nearing retirement, making more battery packs available.

How do you create a mineral resource on a scrapyard? 

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