Lundin Mining Ramps Up Base Metals Production
Lundin Mining is bolstering its presence across Europe and beyond with a number of promising expansions, along with exploration and mine construction projects which will see the company head towards its 500,000-ton production target in the next two to three years.
Such ambition is amply demonstrated by the drive to more than double zinc output at Lundin’s Neves-Corvo mine in Portugal, while a $715 million investment into a new nickel-copper mine in Michigan, USA, is now operational.
The American acquisition from Rio Tinto extends the company’s reach beyond its European heartland, where mines in Portugal, Sweden and Spain are also performing well and have life ahead of them.
Away from wholly-owned operations, Lundin Mining also holds a 24 percent stake in joint ventures with Freeport in a high quality copper-cobalt operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in a cobalt refinery in Finland, granting vertical integration into the world of cobalt mining.
While current performance and growth has been steady, CEO Paul Conibear is aware that the business needs to keep exploring for the next high-grade copper discoveries and bring more assets on board.
“Our metal production is around 300,000 tons this year and I would like to get us up to 500,000 tons in the next two to three years which means an additional one or two more mines,” he said. “This will lift Lundin Mining to the sort of scale we want to be at, operating five or six strong mines.”
Global iron ore production to recover by 5.1% in 2021
Global iron ore production fell by 3% to 2.2bnt in 2020. Global production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% to 2,663.4Mt between 2021 to 2025. The key contributors to this grow will be Brazil (6.2%), South Africa (4.1%), Australia (3.2%) and India (2.9%). Key upcoming projects expected to commence operations include South Flank in Australia (2021), Zulti in South Africa (H2 2021), Serrote Da Laje in Brazil (H2 2021) and Gudai-Darri (2022), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Declines from Brazil and India were major contributors to the reduced output in 2020. Combined production from these two countries fell from a collective 638.2Mt in 2019 to an estimated 591.1Mt in 2020. The reduced output from the iron ore giant, Vale, was the key factor behind Brazil’s reduced output, while delays in the auctioning of mines in Odisha affected India’s output in 2020.
“Miners in Australia were relatively unaffected by COVID-19 due to effective measures adopted by the Australian Government, while a speedy recovery in China led to a significant 10.4% increase in the country’s iron ore output.”
Looking ahead, the global iron ore production is expected to increase by 111.3Mt to 2,302.5Mt in 2021. Rio Tinto is expected to produce up to 340Mt of iron ore, while BHP has released production guidance of 245–255Mt, supported by the start of the Samarco project in December, which is expected to produce between 1–2Mt.The company has retained its guidance for Australian mines at 276–286Mt on a 100% basis, due to scheduled maintenance work at its ore handling plant and tie-in activity at the Area C mine and South-Flank mine.
Bajaj added: “The remaining companies are expected to produce more than 600Mt of iron ore, including FMG, whose production is expected to range between 175–180Mt supported by its Eliwana mine that commenced operations in late December 2020, and Anglo American, which is expecting to produce between 64–67Mt. Vale is expected to resume 40Mt of its production capacity, taking its overall production capacity to 350Mt in 2021, with production guidance of 315-335Mt.”