Low copper prices have claimed another victim in the form of a once-profitable mining operation.
Imperial Metals Corp. announced it will be laying off more than a third of its workforce located at the Huckleberry mine in the northwestern section of British Columbia, Canada. The reason? You guessed it: continually falling copper prices.
“While HML has made significant efforts to reduce operating costs at the Huckleberry mine, the realized savings have not been sufficient to offset declining copper prices,” the company stated, according to a report from The Globe and Mail.
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Imperial Metals Corp. also owns the Mount Polley and Red Chris mines, and announced that while they’ll suspend pit operations at Huckleberry, they will continue milling stockpiled ore, the news source stated.
Copper future contracts are trading at about the same level they were back in mid-2009 when the global economy was still in the throes of a significant recession. Today’s low copper prices can be mostly attributed to the economic crisis in China, a top consumer of the metal.
Chinese Data Continues to Worry Markets
Copper prices slumped further this week, according to The Wall Street Journal, because of weak Chinese manufacturing data. Factory activity in the Far East nation dropped in December, further cementing a situation rife with slow growth and weak demand.
“It’s been hard to sustain any rally,” Bob Haberkorn, a senior broker with R.J. O’Brien in Chicago, told the news source. “Copper has nothing but headwinds facing it right now.”
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