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[TowerTalk] re Rising copper prices lead to rising cable prices...

Subject: [TowerTalk] re Rising copper prices lead to rising cable prices...
From: "Rob Atkinson, K5UJ" <>
Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 17:25:35 +0000
List-post: <>
the following is a report I posted to a broadcast list in March. Can't remember if I sent it to tower talk also, but in case I did not, here it is....

Synopsis taken from today's [March 16, 2006] wall st. journal:

World's growing appetite for copper melds with supply concerns to keep
prices above $2/ pound.  World's appetite for copper is growing quickly but
mining companies don't have new resources to develop...

There's worry for everyone from mining companies to microwave oven lack of mother lodes to tap.  Around 10 years ago Chile emerged
as the Saudi Arabia of copper.   The world was flooded with copper and
prices dropped to less than $0.70/pound.   Today, demand from China and
elsewhere has kept copper futures prices above $2 / pound even after a
recent pullback.   Chilean production dropped 2% last year and new mines
aren't being discovered quickly enough to make up the shortfall...the world
now has unusually low levels of cu and profit margins are squeezed for such
cu consumer companies as Belden CDT Inc., one of the largest U.S. makers of
electronic cables.   Belden recently reported 4th qtr. net income fell 43%
as it struggled with rising cu costs.   the shortage of new mining projects
also extends to zinc and aluminum.

most of the untapped copper are in regions that have unstable governments or
are hard to reach such as central Africa and Mongolia.  consumption of
refined cu is growing 3.5%/year driven by demand in China, other parts of
Asia and Europe.    In the past, Chilean production plugged the shortage gap
with production there jumping to 5.5 metric tons/year from 1.5 MT in 1990,
with Chile now producing 36% of the world's supply.  The world's 2nd largest
cu mine is in Papua Indonesia producing 600K MT.   There are 2 big untapped
prospects on the horizon:  Phelps Dodge is developing a mine in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.   A copper and gold deposit in Mongolia's
Gobi region is being developed by Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., a venture founded by
billionaire mining entrepreneur Robert Friedland.   If these projects reach
fruition, production will be at least two years off.

rob / k5uj

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