Mt Isa in the spotlight as copper shines

21 May 2024 15:13

Copper futures touched a record high of $5.15 per pound on Monday, driven by short covering, growing investor optimism, and increased market activity from speculators and funds anticipating further gains.

This impressive surge reflects a renewed sense of optimism in the industry, underscored by a flurry of recent announcements from Australian copper miners.

Shifting landscape

Global refined copper usage has witnessed a dramatic rise, surging from 10 million metric tonnes in the late 1980s to a staggering 26.5 million tonnes in 2023.

Currently, equipment manufacturing holds the top spot for copper consumption, followed by construction and infrastructure.

Notably, Asia has emerged as the dominant consumer, accounting for a whopping 70% of global copper consumption. China, in particular, stands out as the single largest consumer, having utilised a staggering 14.7 million tonnes of refined copper in 2022.

Glencore becomes senior creditor

Adding to the bullish sentiment, Austral Resources has announced that Glencore, their offtake partner, has acquired their senior secured debt from Wingate, elevating Glencore to the role of senior secured creditor.

Following Austral Resources’ entry into receivership earlier this year, the company views this as a positive move, positioning them to advance with a stronger financial foundation.

Castillo Copper gears up for Big One development

In a separate development, Castillo Copper has announced a comprehensive soil sampling campaign at the Big One Deposit within the NWQ Project in Mt Isa.

Informed by historical exploration findings and recent market trends, including bullish forecasts from leading investment banks like Goldman Sachs, projecting copper prices to exceed $12,000 per tonne in 2025, the decision highlights the deposit’s potential.

This is supported by high-grade results from drilling campaigns between 2020 and 2021, such as 40m @ 1.64% and 44m @ 1.19% Cu from surface.

The Big One Deposit, part of Castillo Copper’s NWQ Copper Project, boasts a JORC 2012 compliant Mineral Resource Estimate of 2.1Mt @ 1.1% Cu for 21,886t of contained metal.

Castillo Copper’s upcoming soil and rock chip sampling campaign will target the area north of the known orebody to explore an untested bedrock conductor, with the geology team anticipating that surface assay results will provide sufficient data to devise a drilling campaign to extend known mineralisation at the Big One Deposit.

Castillo Copper’s share price soared by 80% last week and is currently trading 12.50% higher at $0.009 (9:00 am UTC+8).

Queensland Government endorses Mount Isa’s potential

Further highlighting the importance of the Mt Isa region, Carnaby Resources (ASX:CNB) has recently hosted a delegation from the Queensland Government at its Greater Duchess copper-gold project in Mount Isa.

Led by Queensland Minister for Resources and Critical Minerals Scott Stewart, the visit highlights the government’s commitment to fostering critical mineral projects in the region, with discussions focusing on potential rail haulage options to facilitate infrastructure development and project advancement.


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