I work for, TVI Pacific (check my profile) and we are active in copper mining. As an investor in my own company, I am very interested in perspectives on global copper demand, utilization and forward pricing influencers. I found this article by “Robert Friedland” very interesting and thought I would share it with my followers and investors.
Asian urbanization coupled with the electrification of the auto industry should be a boon for copper prices and a huge benefit for copper mining countries such as top producer Chile, mining financier Robert Friedland said on Thursday.
Speaking at the CRU/CESCO copper conference in the Chilean capital of Santiago, Friedland said massive Chinese demand for automobiles that will increasingly be powered by copper-consumptive electric technologies will turn the red metal into "red gold".
"I absolutely believe that red gold is going to... outperform," said Friedland, who is best known as chairman and founder of Ivanhoe Mines and for discoveries such as the Voisey's Bay nickel find in eastern Canada.
Friedland pointed to a report in the New York Times that China plans to boost its annual production of electric or hybrid cars to 500 000 in the next two years from 2 100 last year, saying such a shift would require huge amounts of electrically conductive copper.
"Within a few years, China will lead the electric car industry," he said. " The implications for the copper industry are stunning."
He also pointed to increased demand for products such as air conditioners in countries like China and India as a key driver of the metal.
"The pace of urbanization and the rush to electrification of the world economy will overwhelm this economic crisis," he said.
Meanwhile, the huge stimulus spending and debt issuances from the United States will pressure the U.S. dollar -- also a positive for copper -- while speeding the economic recovery, he said.
He said the recent move by China's state-owned Chinalco to invest $19,5 billion in metals producer Rio Tinto -- including paying $3,4 billion for a 15 percent interest in the massive Escondida copper mine -- suggests both China's appetite for copper and its expectation that the metal's price will appreciate.
"(China) understands the fundamental importance to their economic growth is in copper metal," he said.
He told the Santiago audience that Chile, the world's top copper producing nation, would benefit the most from the copper outlook.