PERSPECTIVE: Copper tops $10,000 per tonne

The price of copper set an all-time record on Feb. 3, surging above US$10,000 per tonne. Or if you prefer a manageable unit such as a pound, the price translates to over US$4.50/lb.

The price of copper set an all-time record on Feb. 3, surging above US$10,000 per tonne. Or if you prefer a manageable unit such as a pound, the price translates to over US$4.50/lb.

If there are no "copper bugs" among our readers, perhaps there should be. Demand from China is expected to continue growing. A 444,000-tonne supply shortfall is forecast for this year. Weak dollars and euros make commodities attractive investments. Miners can profitably develop more mines.

A quick look at a few copper projects from around Canada is in order.

Capstone Mining of Vancouver is finding multiple high grade copper-gold intercepts from the Copper Keel/Wildfire deposit at its Minto mine 240 km north of Whitehorse, YT. Recent intersections include 11.1 metres at 2.56% Cu from Copper Keel. Assays from Wildfire returned 13.3 metres of 2.48% Cu, 10.9 metres of 2.37% Cu (including 5.3 metres averaging 3.72% Cu, 2.34 g/t Au and 15.5 g/t Ag), 7.0 metres of 2.01% Cu, and 6.4 metres of 1.91% Cu. The company's 2011 exploration plans include a budget of $12.9 million to drill 72,000. (

Vancouver-based Copper Fox Metals has expended the zone of deep higher grade mineralization at its Schaft Creek property in northwest BC. The large porphyry deposit is returning assays such as 0.36% Cu, 0.43 g/t Au, 0.05% Mo and 2.64 g/t Ag over 227.5 metres. Those numbers equate to 0.89% Cu. The company estimates that the mineralization extends at least 600 metres to a depth of 475 metres, and it is open along strike, at depth and to the east. (

Drilling below pit No.3 and the Saddle zone near Princeton, BC, has returned promising assays, says owner Copper Mountain Mining of Vancouver. Under the pit one hole intersected 94.0 metres of 0.72% Cu with 2.77 g/t Ag and 0.11 g/t Au. The best intersection from the Saddle zone was 93.3 metres of 0.45% Cu with 1.10 g/t Ag and 0.13 g/t Au. (

For sheer high grades, nothing beats the outcrop that Vancouver's North American Nickel sampled at its Post Creek property on the eastern rim of the Sudbury Basin, best known for its nickel mines. Assays returned 15% Cu, 29 g/t Au and 18.7 g/t Ag. (

Rockcliff Resources of Toronto is ready to begin a 45,000-metre drill program at its Snow Lake project in Manitoba. Most of the 45 planned holes will be drilled on the Tower, Lon and Rail properties. Recently, the Tower property returned 7.0% copper over 2.65 metres, including 11.5% Cu over 1.00 metre. Gold, zinc and silver values were also recorded. (

At the Reed Lake joint venture of Vancouver's VMS Ventures and Toronto's HudBay Minerals (the operator), drilling has tested the continuity and lateral extend of the zinc-copper rich lens (Zone 30) that extends vertically near to surface. Assays including 3.41% Cu and 1.33% Zn over 32.28 metres, 4.85% Cu and 1.75% Zn over 28.05 metres, and 3.95% Cu and 4.14% Zn over 8.90 metres have been logged. The property is located near Snow Lake, MB. (

VMS Ventures also operates several other 100%-owned base metal and gold projects in northern Manitoba that are in the earliest stages of exploration.

Yellowhead Mining of Vancouver has traced the mineralized zone at its Harper Creek property 90 km northeast of Kamloops, BC, up-dip from the north body of the deposit. The find has the potential to add considerably to the resource estimate, according to the company. Hole HC10-79 returned a 98.1-metre length that assayed 0.31% and 1.3 g/t Ag and a 65.7-metre section that assayed 1.37% Cu and 5.3 g/t Ag. Drilling will continue in the spring. (

Let's cheer for Canada's copper producers and hope some of the exploration projects mentioned above soon become producers, too.


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