BHP’s Olympic Dam Mine in Australia Cuts Copper Production

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The outlook for global copper supply in 2015 continues to weaken, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. BHP Billiton‘s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia is the latest to confirm cuts to production.

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BHP confirmed on Friday that the biggest of the three mills at Olympic Dam would be out of service for six months, meaning copper production would be reduced by between 60,000 to 70,000 metric tons this year.

The loss was caused by a recent electrical fault, which damaged an important piece of equipment in the mill.

The cuts could represent more than 30% of the mine’s expected output, with Olympic Dam producing 184,400 mt of copper cathode in the 2014 financial year.

At $5,648 per metric ton, the copper 3-month price moved up 1.2% on Thursday, February 12, making it the day’s biggest mover on the LME. Following a 1.0% rise yesterday, the primary copper cash price closed on the LME at $5,645 per metric ton.

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The price of US copper producer grade 122 fell 0.3% to $3.27 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 110 declined 0.3% to $3.27 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 weakened by 0.3%, settling at $3.46 per pound. The cash price of primary Japanese copper saw little price change yesterday at JPY 702,000 ($5,841) per metric ton.

Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. At CNY 41,740 ($6,686) per metric ton, Chinese copper bar fell 0.4% yesterday. The cash price of Chinese copper declined 0.4% to CNY 41,940 ($6,718) per metric ton. Chinese copper wire finished the day down 0.2% to CNY 40,940 ($6,558) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap was unchanged at CNY 33,400 ($5,350) per metric ton.

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