Rising Copper and Molybdenum Prices Boost Butte Metal Mine | Mining
“The copper market in South America is struggling economically as Chile plans to nationalize its copper mines. It stifles exploration and investment in the copper industry in Chile, ”said McGivern.
There are rumors of potential strikes in Peru, he added.
Chile and Peru are the world’s largest copper producers, and the United States ranks fifth.
Moly is a bit more difficult to predict as it is a smaller market.
“China is a big factor,” McGivern said. “They have a lot of molybdenum and the ability to control the price, how much they want to rent, how much they want to store. They are a major player in the molybdenum market around the world.
After the pandemic, Europe is buying a lot of molybdenum for infrastructure, which is a good sign for the price, McGivern said.
MR cannot control the prices, only how they extract the ore and ship it.
With the help of traders, MR reduced the cost of shipping copper this year by sticking to the railroad instead of going overseas to China or Brazil as he sometimes did in the past. The move is particularly impactful as sea freight prices are on the rise, McGivern said.
MR’s copper is now shipped to smelters in Quebec, Canada and Utah, and molybdenum to Idaho.