Mongolia Hopes To End Rio Tinto Dispute By 2014; Japanese Copper Falls

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The fight continues between Rio Tinto and Mongolia, but will it resolve soon? “Mongolia hopes the $5 billion expansion of a giant copper and gold mine can start next year as it works to resolve a dispute with global mining giant Rio Tinto, its partner on the project, a government source said,” reports Reuters.

“But Rio Tinto may be reluctant to push on too quickly due to bleak market conditions, the source said, with copper prices down more than 10 percent in 2013 and expected to drop further on a flood of new supplies from South America and Africa. The company was not immediately available for comment.”

“‘Our side is committed to starting the second phase as soon as possible and we can agree on certain issues in December or January and plan development,’ said the source, who is involved in Mongolia’s discussions with Rio Tinto but did not want to disclose his name.”

“Both sides are working on the updated feasibility study. After that, if both sides agree, there will be no challenges. I hope we can agree early next year.”

The Japanese copper cash price fell 1.0 percent on Wednesday, November 20, making it the day’s biggest mover. The price of US copper producer grade 110 inched up 0.3 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 122 increased 0.3 percent. After a 0.2 percent increase, the price of US copper producer grade 102 finished the day.

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Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. Chinese copper bar prices rose 0.9 percent. The Chinese copper cash price gained 0.9 percent to finish. Chinese copper wire saw its price rise 0.4 percent. Chinese bright copper scrap stayed flat.

Following two days of rising prices, the primary copper cash price dropped 0.8 percent on the LME to $6,946 per metric ton. The 3-month price of copper declined 0.6 percent on the LME to $6,956 per metric ton, after two days of improvement.