Category Archives: Industrial Metals


Rare Orchids Bloom In Wake of Iron Mine

May 7th, 2016 by

There is a common saying about how “one man’s trash is another’s treasure.” Apparently, plant ecosystems follow a similar principle sometimes! In this case, one environment’s mining tailings (waste) are another ecosystem’s secret ingredient. At the site of a former iron mine in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, millions of orchids are flourishing […]


Platinum Price Hits 10-Month High

May 2nd, 2016 by

With so much of the focus in the precious metals markets homing in on gold and silver (and deservedly so), the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) have gotten lost in the shuffle. As a result, both the palladium and platinum price were lagging behind their better-known cousins so far in 2016. This trend has finally begun […]


Silver Lining from Base Metals

April 26th, 2016 by

It should be no surprise that two of the keys to solving the puzzle of silver’s supply and demand dynamics are 1) demand for base metals and 2) the Chinese economy. These two factors are not as disparate as they may first appear.

GBC Tree Top Sampling Program 2

Treetop Trace Elements Point to Gold

April 12th, 2016 by

In an novel approach to prospecting in remote areas, Geoscience BC and Noble Exploration Services Ltd have been taking samples from the top of old-growth spruce trees to look for trace amounts of gold and other minerals. Using a helicopter to quickly reach the tops of 80- to 100-year old trees, researchers too 421 samples […]


Use of Silver in Solar Tech to Rise

January 21st, 2016 by

Most of us think of silver as jewelry or an investment. Indeed, it is a precious metal, so it fits these roles perfectly. But there’s also another side to silver that gets overlooked: its widespread use in various industrial applications. Believe it or not, more than half (56%) of the annual silver supply goes toward […]


Mining Sector Offers Divergent Fates for Precious, Industrial Metals

January 7th, 2016 by

Even as gold and silver have rallied to begin 2016, the industrial metals have not followed their precious cousins. Instead, they have been dragged lower by the broader commodities sector. Nonetheless, the mining sector as a whole directly impacts both the precious metals and the industrial metals. Within the scope of mining, how might this […]

grasberg mine

2015 A Year From Hell For Freeport

December 30th, 2015 by

Monday’s sudden resignation of Freeport-McMoRan co-founder James Moffett as Chairman caps a disastrous year for the world’s largest copper miner. Laboring under an unsustainable debt load as the prices for oil and copper plummet, Freeport has seen its stock drop by 70% this year. Investors now pin their hopes on Carl Icahn, who has taken […]

charting gold price

Gold Barely Lower on Slow Trading Day

December 23rd, 2015 by

Wednesday looked to be a quiet day on the markets as more and more participants head home for the holidays. Trading hours will be normal today while U.S. stock markets close early, at 1 pm ET, on Thursday (Christmas Eve). Trading in the precious metals will stay open until 1:45 pm ET on Thursday. Spot […]


Outlook Remains Muted For Oil, Base Metals

December 17th, 2015 by

There’s little reason to believe that crude oil is on its way higher any time soon. This is especially true in light of developments in both the U.S. and the Middle East. Crude prices were down again on Thursday afternoon, with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) falling below $35 per barrel and Brent crude holding just […]

platinum bar

Platinum “Extremely Undervalued”

December 3rd, 2015 by

In the broader commodities sector, you would be hard-pressed to find a worse performer this year than platinum. The precious metal has shed more than 30% of its value thus far in 2015, its worst annual showing since 2008 when the metal plunged 39% on the year. The cause for the losses was pretty straightforward […]


Copperpocalypse Approaches?

November 13th, 2015 by

It’s been a rough year for precious metals and commodities generally. However, it’s the industrial metals that have gotten the brunt of the damage. Industrial metals like copper and nickel are seen as bellwethers of the global market for raw materials due to their widespread use in construction and other “real economy” activities. So far […]

Nyrstar zinc mine image

Largest Zinc Co. May Sell All Mines

November 10th, 2015 by

Debt-laden Nyrstar NV (EBR:NYR), the world’s largest producer of refined zinc, is exploring the possibility of selling all its mines and getting out of zinc mining completely. Stung by zinc prices that have fallen 24% this year due to falling demand, the company is looking at $447 million in bonds coming due in next year. […]

silver nugget

Glencore (LON:GLEN) Sells Future Silver Production

November 5th, 2015 by

The sometimes painful debt restructuring for major mining company Glencore (LON:GLEN) has been well-documented. After investors lost faith in the company and shares began to plummet this year, CEO Ivan Glasenberg set out to arrest the exodus of investment and dwindling confidence of creditors. One of the methods that the company is using to pay […]

Molten aluminum

The End of U.S. Aluminum Production?

November 4th, 2015 by

Despite its 127-year run, Alcoa Inc. (NYSE, SWX:AA), our country’s aluminum production giant, may finally see its dominance in the sector come to an end. America’s aluminum production industry is swiftly being led to the guillotine by a burgeoning and more affordable aluminum industry in China. If the current trend of falling prices continues, experts […]

goldmine gold mining

S.A. Mining Labor Disputes Resolved?

October 5th, 2015 by

South Africa—Wage negotiations between the Chamber of Mines and the four unions Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA may be drawing to a close. The Chamber of Mines chief negotiator Dr. Elize Strydom released the following statement: “Both UASA and Solidarity have indicated their intention […]

platinum bar

Market Overshoots on Platinum Group Metals

October 1st, 2015 by

There’s no doubt that platinum and palladium, the oft-forgotten sister metals of the Platinum Group, are almost always overshadowed by their precious metal cousins, gold and silver. There are several disadvantages that work against the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), including how hard they are to work with (as in fabricating jewelry) and that their shared […]

Note the pattern of trading volumes at the bottom of the chart. Source: Google Finance

Glencore (LON:GLEN) May Sell Its Gold and Silver Streams

October 1st, 2015 by

If there’s one story in the mining sector that commodity investors simply cannot stop talking about, it’s the apparent swift demise of Glencore Plc (LON:GLEN). Glencore is among the world’s leading copper miners; until recently, it operated the world’s largest copper mine at the Gasberg Mine in Indonesia. Over about the last 3 weeks, the […]


Gold Mining News Recap

September 21st, 2015 by

There’s been quite a bit of news flying around the metals mining sector lately. The situation remains fluid and dynamic for many gold miners and silver miners who are trying to adjust to what appears to be a prolonged period of lower price levels for the precious metals. While the recent spike in precious metal […]


10-year Low Profits for World’s Largest Gold Miner

August 26th, 2015 by

BHP Billiton (NYSE, ASX:BHP; LON:BLT) from Australia, world’s biggest mining company, slashed its forecast for Chinese steel (iron ore) demand, retreating from what may prove to have been overly bullish projections. The move was seen as unavoidable given that the mining giant’s profits slumped 52%, a 10-year low, over the last year. The year-long rout […]


Copper Hitting New Six-Year Lows

August 19th, 2015 by

Among the various industrial metals, copper is one of the world’s major commodities. It is used extensively in industry for construction projects, especially as part of energy and heating systems, and is frequently alloyed with other metals in industrial processes. Copper prices have been falling, however, on a number of global cues that range from […]