Copper Exploration in South America in 2024: Solaris Resources (TSX:SLS), Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining

The copper mining industry plays a crucial role in the…

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The copper mining industry plays a crucial role in the global economy, with South America being a significant contributor to the world’s copper supply. As the demand for copper continues to grow, driven by the increasing need for renewable energy and electric vehicles, exploration projects in this region have gained momentum along with some of the biggest investment interest in the past few years . In 2024, there are a few important companies actively engaged in copper exploration across various countries in South America, with promising results and future prospects.

Freeport McMoRan in Peru

Freeport McMoRan, a leading copper producer, operates the Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru. However, the company is projected to face challenges in 2024, with sales volumes expected to decrease to 1.13Blb (512,559t) of copper, compared to 1.20Blb sold in 2023. This decline is attributed to lower grades at Cerro Verde and mill recoveries falling below those in the same period of 2022. Despite these challenges, Freeport McMoRan remains committed to its operations in Peru and continues to explore opportunities for growth and optimization.

Lundin Mining Corporation: Consistent Performance and Expansion

Lundin Mining Corporation has demonstrated consistent performance in its copper exploration and production activities across South America. In the second quarter of 2023, the company produced 10,697 tonnes of copper and approximately 13,000 ounces of gold in concentrate. The Chapada mine in Brazil, one of Lundin’s key assets, achieved higher recoveries, resulting in increased copper production compared to the prior year quarter.

Looking at Lundin’s historical performance, the company produced 249,659 tonnes of copper on a consolidated basis in 2022, which was within the guidance range of 250,000 to 274,000 tonnes. In 2023, Lundin Mining achieved a record consolidated copper production of 314,798 tonnes, surpassing the guidance range of 300,000 to 320,000 tonnes.

For the three-year period from 2024 through 2026, Lundin Mining has provided production guidance for copper, with a range of 366,000 to 400,000 tonnes. This guidance is largely in line with the company’s 2023 production guidance, indicating a likely stable outlook for Lundin’s copper exploration and production.

Solaris Resources: Strategic Investments and Resource Expansion

Solaris Resources (TSX:SLS) (OTCQB:SLSSF) has proven itself as one of the most important exploration companies in South America over the past few years, with significant developments at its Warintza Project in Ecuador. The company is preparing for a major mineral resource estimate update, expected in late Q2 2024, which will leverage extensive drilling data to potentially enhance resource size and grade at Warintza Central, East, and Southeast.

In a strategic move, Solaris also announced plans to list its common shares on the NYSE American stock exchange, securing funding for exploration and development programs in 2024 and 2025. Additionally, the company received a significant investment from Zijin Mining, a major Chinese company, which provided crucial capital for ongoing activities at the Warintza Project and highlighted the project’s potential.

Zijin Mining’s investment, announced on January 11, 2024, involves the purchase of approximately 28,481,289 common shares of Solaris Resources at a subscription price of $4.55 per share, representing a 14% premium to the closing price of the common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on January 10, 2024. Upon closing of the investment, Zijin Mining will own approximately 15% of the common shares on a fully diluted basis.

The investment from Zijin Mining is expected to be used by Solaris Resources to advance and develop the Warintza copper project primarily. This strategic partnership provides financial security for Solaris Resources and the expertise and growth potential of Zijin Mining, one of the most successful major mining companies in the world.

Solaris Resources continues active drilling with six rigs, focusing on resource expansion, infill drilling, and exploration beyond the current resource zones\[2\].

Copper exploration in South America remains strng in 2024, with companies like Freeport McMoRan, Lundin Mining Corporation, and Solaris Resources actively engaged in resource expansion, strategic partnerships, and sustainable operations. As the demand for copper continues to grow, driven by the global shift towards renewable energy and electric vehicles, these projects will be watched ever more closely for major announcements.



The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a licensed professional for investment advice. The author is not an insider or shareholder of any of the companies mentioned above.
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Matthew Evanoff

I specialize in the mining industry, focusing on top global mining stocks. My reporting covers the latest industry news, company/project developments, and profiles of key players. With a degree in finance and economics from the University of Toronto, I’ve contributed to a wide range of industry publications. Beyond my professional pursuits, I have a keen interest in global business and a love for travel.

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