|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||8.41 - 9.28|
|52 Week Range||7.30 - 13.24|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.90|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||18.23|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.34 (3.78%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Apr 22, 2020|
|1y Target Est||25.40|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Lockdowns imposed to control the coronavirus have battered China’s appetite for everything from coal to copper, pushing stockpiles of raw materials higher and global prices lower. The next crunch could come from supply. The risk of an outbreak is growing in ill-prepared producer countries, with mandatory quarantines and border shutdowns threatening to choke off production.Prices of bulk commodities are already seeing some support from such disruptions, as ports and mines close. Coking coal in particular has outperformed owing in part to Mongolia’s decision in late January to seal its border with China, which cut off a key source of supply. The impact may be only short term. With factory shutdowns spreading through the U.S. and Europe, the reduction in wider metals supply would need to be dramatic to offset crumbling global demand. Upheaval could provide some price support regardless.Appetite for virtually all commodities has slumped since January, when the extent of damage from the novel coronavirus became clear. Even where mills, smelters and factories stayed open, that largely translated into crammed warehouses. China’s industrial production, investment and retail sales for the first two months of the year plunged across the board, with construction particularly weak. China’s economy is now all but certain to contract in the first quarter from a year earlier.With European automakers and other manufacturers shuttering operations, the drop in commodity demand in the first three months is likely to be even worse than during the global financial crisis. Steel demand will fall more than a fifth, copper will slide 14% and aluminum almost a third, analysts at BMO Capital Markets estimate.It hasn’t helped futures prices that the latest wave of closures is coming as we head into the second quarter, usually a peak period for demand. China, by contrast, was worse hit during the quieter Lunar New Year. Copper, a bellwether of confidence in global manufacturing, has tumbled to four-year lows of around $4,800 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.Travel and quarantine restrictions have already damaged supply, making it harder for miners to fly employees in and out and impeding projects under construction. Peru’s quarantine has already prompted Anglo American Plc to stop all nonessential work at its $5 billion Quellaveco project and withdraw most of the site’s 10,000 staff and contractors. Canada’s Teck Resources Ltd. has suspended work at its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 in Chile, while Rio Tinto Group says work has slowed on its underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia.Lockdowns may be even more severe. Copper mines are among the worst affected as Chile and Peru, the world’s top two producers, scramble to contain the virus, prompting Anglo American, Antofagasta and others to send staff home. Chilean state behemoth Codelco will work at reduced capacity for two weeks, while workers at BHP Group’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, threatened action to compel the company to take more preventative steps. The miner said Saturday it would reduce the number of contractors onsite. Analysts at Bank of Nova Scotia estimate a two-week halt in operations in those two countries would amount to 325,000 tons of lost production — roughly 4% of their combined annual output. This serves to underline the geographical concentration of a handful of key materials. Lithium is produced mainly in Chile and Australia, while iron-ore exports are dominated by Australia and Brazil. The price surge after last year’s Vale SA dam disaster shows what a port closure could do to the iron-ore market, though such a move appears unlikely given the huge budget contribution that the material makes to Brazil and Australia.Many producer countries are developing economies and ill-equipped to handle an epidemic that has floored even the world’s richest nations. In Brazil, the response has been patchy at best, with some states taking measures that are increasingly at odds with the federal government. Poorly implemented lockdowns, as seen in the Philippines, could push thousands of casual workers out of cities in search of work in more remote areas — potentially extending the spread.If more drawbridges are raised, expect supplies from explosives and tires to heavy equipment to get blocked, hampering even mining operations that could otherwise keep going. In the meantime, low prices will hurt some higher-cost projects, though rock-bottom prices for oil, a significant input, will cushion the blow. This will affect smaller producers first, given the healthy balance sheets of big miners. Still, operations like Rio’s Pacific Aluminium, or pricey U.S. copper mines, look vulnerable.Demand was the first part of an unprecedented crunch for the global commodities industry. The second act is only beginning. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Global miner BHP Group will exclude contractors from its Chile copper mines for 15 days, it announced on Sunday, saying this is part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus. BHP operates the Escondida and Pampa Norte mines in Chile, which on Saturday confirmed its first coronavirus death. The South American country has so far had 537 confirmed coronavirus cases.
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MOSCOW/LONDON/MELBOURNE, March 18 (Reuters) - From using drones for field inspections to stockpiling cyanide, miners are scrambling to maintain output amid the coronavirus pandemic, a task made trickier in underground mines where social distancing is nearly impossible. While miners have faced some outages, due to government shutdowns in places like Peru and Mongolia, most production continues. In a defensive step, miners have begun stockpiling fuel, hydrofluoric acid, lime and other industry staples, including cyanide, which is used to extract gold from rock.
It was another volatile day for U.K. stocks on Tuesday, as equities gyrated on how to correctly price in the impact on the economy from the raging coronavirus.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- A combination of hefty dividends and contracting output is turning the world’s second-largest miner into the poster child for a $1.5 trillion industry’s growth quandary.Rio Tinto Group announced a record $3.7 billion final dividend Wednesday, adding to $11.9 billion of cash returns already paid in 2019. Yet it produced less iron ore, copper and aluminum, leaving market prices to lift underlying earnings by 18%. Rio’s Pilbara operations stumbled early in the year. Its Mongolian copper mine, a key source of future production and the basis of a greener portfolio, is now not only sorely overdue and over-budget, but also tangled in international tax arbitration. The $86 billion mining giant isn’t alone. High dividend yields and pedestrian output have begun to define resources heavyweights that used to be known for the exact opposite. Diversified groups relied on their varied sources of cash to expand, but large-scale opportunities are scarcer than ever, and portfolios look far less diverse too, once coal and other less appealing assets have been carved off. At Rio, iron ore now accounts for three-quarters of its underlying Ebitda.For investors, it hasn’t been all bad news. Since Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques took the helm in 2016, Rio’s total return including reinvested dividends adds up to an impressive 112%, outpacing most rivals.Yet much of that is due to generous payouts. For a company that digs stuff up for a living, this may not be sustainable — especially for one that aims to build a portfolio better aligned with a carbon-light global economy. It may also be an indication of just how hard it is to change. Rio paid shareholders in 2019 more than double its capital expenditure budget for the same year.One priority has been copper. Under Jacques, head of that unit until he became CEO, Rio has said it wants to add more of the red metal as its existing mines age, and will look at other green ingredients, those for rechargeable batteries and the like. Yet a unit set up to consider just such deals hasn’t sealed a single one despite considering more than 200 opportunities, and the company has suffered blow after blow in Mongolia. Its Oyu Tolgoi mine in the South Gobi accounts for only a fraction of Rio’s value today, but could dictate the company’s fortunes. So far, it’s mostly an unhelpful headache. The mine, which Rio holds through Canada-listed Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., is one of the largest copper deposits around, and could produce an annual 550,000 metric tons of copper, almost as much as Rio produced last year, plus 450,000 ounces of gold. In the parlance of big miners, it moves the needle.Unfortunately, it also encapsulates everything that makes such projects so challenging: tough geography, messy local politics and complex geology. The cost of the largest, underground, portion has swelled to as much as $7.2 billion, and could rise again when a final estimate is published later in 2020. First production may now be be 30 months later than predicted. Fears of a cash call have dragged down Turquoise Hill shares.In the latest development, Rio announced last week it would begin arbitration proceedings to solve a tax dispute. Few arbitration deals yield significant victories — ask Barrick Gold Corp. and Antofagasta Plc, which won a $5.8 billion ruling against Pakistan last year — and they tend to irk host governments, so it’s a worrying sign. The risk is that Oyu Tolgoi becomes Rio Tinto’s own version of Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s Indonesian pride and joy, Grasberg – wonderful in theory, nearly impossible in practice.Rio won’t drop Mongolia, and not just because of Jacques’ own attachment to the project. A copper option, however long-dated, is valuable, even if the company doesn’t yet jump in to buy out Turquoise Hill minority shareholders.But what then? Rio has manageable debt and ample cash — $9.2 billion in free cash flow in 2019, the highest level in almost a decade — and deals look cheaper as shares in copper-heavy Freeport and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. have roughly halved since 2018. Perhaps, though, not cheap enough to warrant wrestling with Freeport’s U.S. liabilities or First Quantum’s Zambian operations.Rio isn’t shrinking quite yet. It has exploration projects, and iron-ore production already did better in the second half, albeit still short of the company’s ultimate target. Yet with Oyu Tolgoi mired in arbitration and geological complexities, and the economy swiftly shifting, it might be time for Rio to consider just how creative it can get.To contact the author of this story: Clara Ferreira Marques at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Copper prices will rebound in the coming months from a downturn in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China, Chilean mining minister Baldo Prokurica said on Tuesday. China reported its fewest new coronavirus infections since January on Tuesday and its lowest daily death toll for a week, but the World Health Organization said data suggesting the epidemic had slowed should still be viewed with caution. China is the world's top copper consumer, and Chile is the red metal's top producer.
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Looking ahead to 2020, the miner reiterated its target to produce between 725,000 tons and 755,000 tons of copper, between 180,000 ounces and 200,000 ounces of gold, and between a range of 12,500 tons and 14,000 tons of molybdenum.
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Copper producer Antofagasta Plc said on Wednesday protests in Chile could cut its production by about 5,000 tonnes, equivalent to less than 3% of third quarter output, due to delays in supplies and travel disruptions for workers. The London-listed miner, which has four mines in Chile and employs about 19,000 people, kept its annual forecast unchanged at 750,000-790,000 tonnes of copper this year but said 2020 output would be lower at 725,000-755,000 tonnes. Antofagasta produced 197,000 tonnes of copper in the third quarter, 0.8% lower than the previous three months but up on the 188,300 tonnes produced a year earlier.
Canadian gold producing giant Barrick Gold has been awarded nearly $6 billion in damages related to a 2011 arbitration case involving it and a partner being denied a mining lease in Pakistan.
Pakistan said on Sunday it welcomed a statement by Tethyan Copper expressing willingness for a negotiated settlement after a World Bank tribunal ordered the government to pay $5.8 billion in damages in a dispute over the Reko Diq copper mine. The statement from the attorney general's office came after a World Bank arbitration court ruled in favour of Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Chile's Antofagasta Plc and Canada's Barrick Gold, in a dispute over a lease to the mine, located in a remote area of southwestern Pakistan.
Chilean copper miner Antofagasta Plc said on Tuesday it would ask regulators for more time to answer questions about an environmental impact study for its Zaldivar mine, which draws water from Chile's lithium-rich Atacama salt flat. Chilean regulators last year delayed their review of Zaldivar's environmental study amid rising concerns over dwindling water supplies at Atacama. The Atacama salt flat is home to lithium miners SQM and Albemarle Corp, which together produce one-third of the world's supply of the ultralight battery metal.
“Now mining companies are taking the water,” she says, pointing to dead grass around stone ruins that once provided a nighttime refuge for shepherds. Atacama has become one of the busiest mining districts on the planet in the intervening decades, following discoveries of massive deposits of copper and lithium. In recent years that mining has intensified, thanks to booming demand for lithium, which is indispensable in the production of rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles.
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A trade war between the United States and China is depressing the price of copper and the red metal would be 5% to 15% higher without the dispute, the chairman for Chile's Antofagasta Plc told a Chilean newspaper on Sunday. "Without the commercial war, I am convinced that the price of copper would be between $3.20 and $3.50 per pound," Jean-Paul Luksic said in an interview with El Mercurio. The bruising trade war, which has slowed the global economy, is clouding the outlook for demand from top metals consumer China.
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