BHP Billiton Invests in Copper to Offset Iron Ore Losses

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BHP Billiton is laying the groundwork for a dramatic rise in copper production in a drive to buffer its exposure to sagging iron ore, oil and coal markets, Reuters reported.

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BHP Billiton Chief Financial Officer Peter Beaven said $4 billion in new equipment under construction at the company’s Escondida mine in Chile, coupled with expansion work at the Olympic Dam mine in Australia could yield hundreds of thousands of additional tons of copper per year.

The copper 3-month price saw a 1.6% increase on Monday, November 24, reaching $6,725 per metric ton on the LME and making it the biggest mover for the day. Also on the LME, the primary copper cash price increased 1.5% to $6,790 per metric ton.

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The price of US copper producer grade 122 inched up 0.3% to $3.74 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 110 gained 0.3% to finish at $3.74 per pound. After a 0.3% increase, the price of US copper producer grade 102 finished the day at $3.93 per pound. The cash price of primary Japanese copper held steady around JPY 827,000 ($7,023) per metric ton.

Chinese copper prices were up for the day. Chinese copper wire prices rose 0.6% to CNY 48,395 ($7,902) per metric ton. Chinese copper bar saw its price rise 0.5% to CNY 49,140 ($8,024) per metric ton. The Chinese copper cash price rose 0.5% to CNY 49,340 ($8,056) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap rose by 0.5% to CNY 42,500 ($6,939) on Monday after remaining flat for two days.

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