Saturday, April 27, 2013

Double plus ungood news for those of us who work in copper and brass.

A massive landslide at Bingham Canyon Mine, about 20 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
The lost equipment was worth tens of millions of dollars, but much more significant is the fact that the landslide has shut Bingham Canyon down for an as-yet undetermined length of time. Much more significant because Bingham Canyon is not just another copper mine. Physically, it is the largest in the world, and it is among the most productive. Each year it supplies about 17 percent of U.S. copper consumption and 1 percent of the world’s. When a cog that big loses its teeth, the whole global economic machine goes clunk.
First to feel the effect (other than the workers at Bingham Canyon, of course, who have been asked to take unpaid leave) was Rio Tinto, Bingham’s owner. Its stock opened lower the morning after the landslide, and its analysts projected that the company’s profits would drop 7 percent for this year, with ripple effects for some years after. Bad for investors, sure. But those losses, in turn, will mean less capital for Rio’s investments in its numerous other ventures, and since Rio is the third-largest mining firm in the world—if you live in anything like an industrialized economy, you use its products every day—the ripple effects spread far beyond Rio’s shareholders. A pinch in Rio’s supply lines will push up metal prices for everyone.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that this(landslide) is happening in gold/silver/copper/tin open pit mines world wide. Almost like it was planed or summptin.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a good time to invest in other copper mining companies.

- Old Greybeard

Anonymous said...

I'm remembering the spike in memory prices caused by a fire in a resin plant in S. Korea a while back. Ditto for the floods in Thailand causing hard drive prices to spike. The ammo supply chain is already stretched like one of Dolly Parton's bra straps and has way too many choke points between the raw materials and the end purchaser: primer precursor compounds made only off shore, nitric acid, nitrocellulose made in only one plant, and now brass/copper shortages?

The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to look like a train.