Copper Market Trends Working for Miners

SNL CopperWhile most precious and base metal prices languished during March, copper posted a 7.5% gain climbing $431 per metric ton (mt) to $6,146/mt from $5,715/mt. The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) also released preliminary 2014 copper supply and demand data during March. The refined copper balance for the full-year 2014 indicated a production deficit of 475,000 mt. This compares with a production deficit of 270,000 mt in 2013.

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Supply Disruptions Could Push Uranium Prices Higher

The uranium spot price could be in for some big moves, according to Uranium Investing News, following major accidents at Rio Tinto’s Rössing mine in Namibia and BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam in Australia. Rössing and Olympic Dam are two of the largest uranium mines, accounting for 8% of the global uranium supply in 2014. Production stoppages could impact supply. The uranium spot price is currently $38.25/lb of U3O8.

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China to Remove Taxes on Rare Earths

The dynamics of rare earths supply are changing again, according to a new report from Roskill. On January 21, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced that it will remove taxes on export sales of rare earths on May 2. The announcement follows the news at the end of last year that rare earths exports would instead be subject to an export licensing regime. China was widely expected to abolish the quota system and taxes following a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in March 2014 that the tariff and quota system was discriminatory and gave unfair advantage to domestic consumers. Rare earth exports were subject to 15% or 25% tariffs in 2014.

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Silver Demand for Industrial Applications Continues to Grow

Total silver industrial demand is forecast to grow 27%, adding an additional 142 million oz of silver demand through 2018 compared with 2013 levels, according to a new report issued recently by the Silver Institute. Half of this growth will be accounted for by the electrical and electronics sector, but additional demand will be due to growth in other industrial applications, as highlighted in the report entitled, Glistening Particles of Industrial Silver.

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