VANCOUVER — It’s not a secret that many in the mining community are pretty bullish on copper’s long term prospects. There’s some disagreement over the timeline for recovery, but typical analyst models assume a supply deficit for the red metal within the next decade. Copper supply stocks at the London Metal Exchange (LME) hit a two-year low in late March, while China continues to buy up material quantities of the metal for its warehouse stocks in Shanghai.
A second not-so-well-kept secret is that mega miner Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO; LON: RIO) is on the lookout for long life copper assets to add to its production portfolio. Rio added a little fuel to the fires of speculation on March 17, when it announced CEO Sam Walsh would be retiring and that copper and coal chief Jean-Sébastien Jacques would be stepping up to lead the company. Interestingly, Rio has a history of appointing chief executives from its high priority segments. Walsh took the job in 2013, after running the company’s iron ore and aluminum businesses.
In addition, Jacques earned the top job at Rio largely due to his success in navigating the sociopolitical quandary in Mongolia, where Rio runs the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine through its 51% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX: TRQ; NYSE: TRQ). The companies made big strides in 2015, via a landmark, US$4.4 billion finance and development agreement that resolves outstanding issues with the Mongolian government and sets the stage for a large-scale underground expansion at the mine.
Read the entire story at www.NorthernMiner.com/ rio-tinto-could-look-at-a-turquoise-hill-takeout