Are Canadians Cuckoo for Copper?

Like just about every other commodity these days, Copper, used in everything from construction and cars to telecommunications and power, is surging with a price increase of a good 50% or so in the past year. The outlook for 2011 is that demand will continue to exceed supply and that global stock levels, which have been declining rapidly over the last six months, will continue to do so. Copper is making a comeback, and we are going to feel it in our pocket books.

Since MetalMiner does such a great job of tracking copper prices, along with prices for other metals, and regularly provides us with copper outlooks while doing so, I’m not going to beat the horse up any further but instead focus on a recent story in The Globe and Mail about how the commodity cycle speeds up and the impact this is having in The Great White North.

According to the article, the trucks and shovels are rumbling again near the peak of Copper Mountain which is home to the Copper Mountain project, located 270 kilometres east of the Port Metro Vancouver. Copper Mountain was shuttered in the mid-1990s due to low commodity prices and the area has been quiet since then, but now sparks from welders’ torches crackle and fly inside the massive hangar-like processing mill that stands 10 storeys tall. Outside, several 240-tonne, seven-metre-tall trucks — price tag $3.5-million each — bump along at 15 kilometres an hour, hauling away waste rock from the once-prolific pit 3.

In other words, millions of dollars (about $438 Million on reconstruction to be exact) are being spent to revive a mine to mine a commodity that is cyclical in nature and that will, inevitably, fall below the threshold price per pound required to make the mine profitable (and see the mine closed for the fifth time in its history). Which leads one to ask, in the global commodities surge, are we Canadians going cuckoo for copper?