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Welcome to Lord Copper

Opinions about lots of things - mostly related to the worlds' metal markets

A Chilean Diary

14 August 2019

In September this year, after 110 years of open cast mining, Chuquicamata, one of the world’s most famous copper mines, goes underground. New shafts from the present floor have been cut diagonally into the seam. Richer at Cu 0.7% (than the present Cu 0.2%-0.5%) the mine will instantly become more efficient. The old ore trucks, as large as buildings, 340mt empty and 570mt full, creeping up at a 12% gradient from the present floor, will soon rumble off to work elsewhere.

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Oversight of Metal Stocks - to be extended?

25 July 2019

Over the course of my career, I learned that often the best trading opportunities occur around that fuzzy, uncertain line where the LME forward (futures) market and the physical metal market meet. I know it would be easier for the regulatory authorities if that line were a clear, unambiguous frontier, but it’s simply not so. That’s a large part of the reason why warehousing - which is right in that fuzzy zone - has consistently been a subject that causes difficulties in the market. Difficulties? - well, depending on one’s point of view: for some, a clear indication that more regulation is needed, for others, another trading opportunity.

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Extracting Ores, and Moon Landings

17 July 2019

The extraction of metal ores from the earth is a tough business, and as technology advances - which should, on the surface, presumably make the task easier - so the requirements get progressively harder as the easy sources of ore are depleted. So it stays a difficult operation, even though extraction methods become ever more sophisticated.

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Range Anxiety - Part Two

10 July 2019

Last week, Fred wrote about range anxiety from the point of view of a user of a pure electric car. I thought I’d explore that a little further, although I should point out that my cars are not pure electric, but hybrid, so on the whole, range anxiety doesn’t really come into play.

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Range Anxiety

03 July 2019

Lord Copper has introduced a number of ideas on the subject of electric cars, which is of importance to us more widely than just with respect to the metals markets. This article is about range anxiety, the real concern that would-be electric car users have of running out of juice and having to be trucked to the next charging point. I would like to give my perspective as a fully electric Tesla driver for the last five years, and then give it a twist.

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Why we should like volcanoes

26 June 2019

Coming back from a recent short visit to eastern Sicily, it seemed the Catania airport was less busy than usual, perhaps because its neighbour Mount Etna has been in the news again. Thanks to drones we have been seeing photos of red-hot lava flows and big ash clouds. Maybe some anxiety-prone tourists were postponing their visits.

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All Hail the New Puritanism!

19 June 2019

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” So begins LP Hartley’s novel of wistfulness, love, deception and disillusion, ‘The Go-Between’. Well, at some point in our lives we all probably experience Leo’s feelings when we look back at how things used to be and how they are now.

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