Lundin Family to fund mining school at University of Arizona
The Lundin Family, owners of the Canadian-based Lundin Mining Corporation, has announced their support for an ambitious new expansion program at the School of Mining and Mineral Resources at the University of Arizona.
In a statement, the family confirms that it has made a £1.54 million commitment and will provide up to an additional £1.93 million through a grant challenge to match funds raised by December 2022.
The University of Arizona has long been recognised as having one of the top mining engineering programs in the world, and the Lundin Family grant is expected to help the university upgrade facilities, provide financial support to students, and work towards an interdisciplinary school of mining and mineral resources.
The program aims to encourage and prepare a new generation of professionals to enter the mining industry from different educational disciplines and specialities, including finance, law, compute science, environment, and social sciences, amongst others.
"We are very excited to be supporting such an important initiative alongside the University of Arizona. The drive toward a safer, more sustainable and efficient mining operation requires the very best talent across all disciplines, not just mining engineering and geology," says Jack Lundin, President and CEO of Bluestone Resources Inc, one of the Lundin Group companies.
Consisting of 14 publicly traded companies in the natural resource sector, The Lundin Group operates in more than 25 countries around the world.
"While most universities' mineral resources programs are shrinking or not keeping pace with change, the University of Arizona has demonstrated a vision and commitment to enhancing natural resources education. This gift is intended to catalyse the resources necessary and to attract industry support from our peers to make this vision of creating the best mineral resource program in the world into a reality," Jack Lundin adds.
"We believe this partnership with the University of Arizona to create a new interdisciplinary school of mining and mineral resources will bring the kind of energy and excitement needed to attract the very best talent, and to prepare students to positively impact the future of mineral resources."
At the core of the expansion initiative is a commitment to keeping the industry pipeline filled with well-rounded, highly skilled professionals. Therefore, the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering, the College of Science, and the Lowell Institute are sharing the gift and working together to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum, while also updating research and teaching facilities, such as the San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory, the statement points out.
"We look forward to using this gift to become even better," says David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge dean of the College of Engineering.
"The generosity of the Lundin family will allow us to upgrade our facilities, build partnerships with industry and other universities, and strengthen the department's focus in areas such as data science and artificial intelligence."
Although based in Canada and Switzerland, the Lundin Family maintains strong ties in Arizona and the university, with members of the family graduates of the institution and serving on the board of directors for the university’s Lowell Institute for Mining Resources.
"Mining is more critical than ever as we look toward a more sustainable future for our planet. Mined materials like copper are needed for electric vehicles, windmills and server farms for cloud-based applications," says professor emerita, Mining & Geological Engineering, Mary Poulton who is also co-director of the Lowell Institute with Mark Barton, Professor of Geosciences.
"Our location amid some of the largest copper deposits on Earth, world-class faculty members and long-standing relationships with industry mean the University of Arizona has what it takes to lead. This gift will help us take our efforts to the next level."
The gift will also fund the Lundin Family Endowed Chair in Economic Geology within the Department of Geosciences.
"The establishment of this chair will strengthen our economic geology program, which is designed to apply geological research to expand our knowledge and understanding of the distribution of minerals," adds Elliott Cheu, interim dean of the College of Science.
"Furthermore, by helping us bring together talented faculty and students from a wide range of disciplines, these funds will strengthen the university's outstanding reputation in mineral resources."
As one of the first two areas of study offered at the University of Arizona – along with agriculture – mining has been an institutional cornerstone since the University's founding in 1885.
"Mining has been an important part of the University of Arizona since its very beginning as a land-grant institution," explains University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We have been preparing students for mining careers for 130 years, and our alumni occupy leadership positions at mining operations across the globe.
“With this generous gift from the Lundin Family, and the possibility of even more through the challenge, we have an opportunity to significantly advance our world-renowned efforts to ensure safe and sustainable extraction of the important materials we rely upon every day,” he concludes.
Copper, iron ore surge as Chinese investors unleash demand
The reopening of major industrial economies is sparking a surge across commodities markets from corn to lumber, with tin climbing above $30,000 a tonne for the first time since 2011 on Thursday.
In the wake of mounting evidence of inflation fuelled by higher raw materials prices, investors are also increasingly focused on when the U.S. Federal Reserve might start throttling back its emergency support.
Many banks say the rally has further to run, particularly for copper, which will benefit from rising investment in new energy sectors. Copper is at the highest in a decade, fueling bets it will rally further to take out the record set in February 2011. Steel demand is surging as economies chart a path back to growth just as the world’s biggest miners have been hampered by operational issues, tightening ore supply.
“The long-term prospects for metals prices are ‘too good’ and point to higher prices in the next few years,” said Commerzbank AG analyst Daniel Briesemann. “The decarbonization trends in many countries, which include switching to electric vehicles and expanding wind and solar power, are likely to generate additional demand for metals.”
Trading house Trafigura Group and several major Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. expect copper to extend gains.
Copper rose as much as 1.6% to $10,108.50 a ton on the London Metal Exchange before trading at $10,080 as of 4:07 p.m. in London.
Benchmark spot iron ore prices rose to a record, while futures in Singapore and China climbed.
The boom comes as China’s steelmakers keep output rates above 1 billion tons a year, despite a swath of production curbs aimed at reducing carbon emissions and reining in supply. Instead, those measures have boosted steel prices and profitability at mills, allowing them to better accommodate higher iron ore costs.
Spot iron ore with 62% content hit $201.15 a ton on Thursday, according to Mysteel. Futures in Singapore jumped as much as 5.1% to $196.40 a ton, the highest since contracts were launched in 2013. In Dalian, prices closed 8.8% higher.
Erik Hedborg, Principal Analyst, Steel at CRU Group commented: “Recent production cuts in Tangshan have boosted demand for higher-quality ore and prompted mills to build iron ore inventories as their margins are on the rise. Iron ore producers are enjoying exceptionally high margins as well, around two thirds of seaborne supply only require prices of $50 /dmt to break even.”
Still, some analysts including Commerzbank’s Briesemann expect a short-term correction as metals become detached from fundamentals. There’s also a risk that China could engage in policies that may cool demand for iron ore and copper.
The metals rally has boosted concerns about short-term Chinese demand. Some manufacturers and end-users have been slowing production or pushing back delivery times after costs surged, while weaker-than-expected domestic consumption has opened the arbitrage window for exports.
Tin climbed as much as 2% to $30,280 a ton on the LME, boosted by rising orders for the soldering metal. Tin is at the highest since May 2011, with a 48% gain this year making it the best performing metal on the LME.