The Group’s mining operations produce copper with by-products of gold, molybdenum and silver. Los Pelambres and Centinela produce copper concentrate containing gold and silver, which is sold to smelters for further processing and refining into copper cathodes, as well as the production of gold and silver.
Copper contained in concentrates made up over 80% of the Group’s copper sales in 2015. Centinela, Antucoya and Zaldívar produce copper cathodes which are sold directly to fabricators and trading companies. Cathode production is set to increase during 2016 with Antucoya’s ramp-up to full production and the recent acquisition of 50% of the Zaldívar mine. Los Pelambres produces molybdenum concentrate, which is sold to roasters for further processing.
Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a reddish-orange colour. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys.
The principal end markets for refined copper are construction and consumer products, which account for approximately 58% of global copper demand. These are followed by electrical and electronic products, transport and industrial machinery.
The price of copper is typically determined by the major metals exchanges – the London Metal Exchange (“LME”), the Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“COMEX”) and the Shanghai Futures Exchange (“SHFE”). The price of copper is affected by supply-demand fundamentals as well as by financial investors who take a view on future supply and demand factors.
Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au (from Latin: aurum) and atomic number 79. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable and ductile metal. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements, and is solid under standard conditions.
Gold is used as an investment asset and for jewellery and various industrial and electronic applications. It can be readily sold on numerous markets throughout the world and benchmark prices are generally based on London Bullion Market Association (“LBMA”) quotations.
Molybdenum is a chemical element with symbol Mo and atomic number 42.
The main use of molybdenum is as a key alloying element in steel, although it is also used in other products such as catalysts. Contract prices are typically based on price benchmarks such as those reported by Platts.