Copper (chemical symbol: Cu) used to be the thermometer of the world economy (hence its nickname "Dr. Copper") as it is used in all sorts of manufacturing, but especially construction and everything connected to electric power, which translates obviously to activity.

Usually megaprojects like open pit copper mines result in years and years of very difficult permitting processes, lawsuits and environmental protesting, but Chile understands the importance of such sources of income, and have created a very mining friendly context for foreign mining companies to invest in their country. However, a turn towards environmentalism in Chilean politics has limited enthusiasm for large foreign investments in mining, for example Glencore partly backed out on a large project on the Chilean/Argentinean border, and is only continuing the development of this project on the Argentinean side of the border. Pascua Lama is another example of the ending of the not so formal stance of Chile not too long ago, but it must be said that this disaster is in  large part due to operator Barrick itself.

The price of copper these days (2024) is $3.85/lbs. Despite ongoing inflation, these prices are high enough to trigger lots of development of new copper projects, also as copper demand goes in tandem now with ongoing electrification. Because of this, a number of large, new projects, previously uneconomic, are seeing large investments now, and have a real outlook on further development into mines. Nice examples are porphyry giants like the Lundin projects in the Vicuna district in Chile/Argentina, and Los Azules (McEwen Mining) in Argentina. As formerly Argentina was seen as a risk, keep in mind that Argentinean politics differ a great deal with each province, and the new president Milei is pro mining as it will bolster Argentina's independence from for example the BRICS.


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