BHP Group has entered into an agreement with Serbia involving the exploration for copper in the country. The Australian multinational mining, metals and natural gas petroleum public company is focused on expanding efforts to find new copper deposits because the metal will play a crucial role in the green revolution.
BHP is bullish on copper’s outlook because the red metal’s use in grids, wind turbines and electric cars grows. With the demand for copper expected to surpass supply in the near-term, concerns about shortages in the long-term are growing.
Last month, BHP also acquired OZ Minerals Ltd. for more than $6 billion. This acquisition, which is BHP’s biggest in years, will enable the company to increase its exposure to raw materials used in clean energy production and electric vehicles.
This move followed Rio Tinto Group’s acquisition of Turquoise Hill Resources Limited for $3.1 billion. This acquisition affords the Anglo-Australian mining company 66% in the biggest known global copper and gold deposit: Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia. Additionally, BHP recently entered an agreement to explore three copper exploration targets in Serbia through Mundoro Capital Inc.
The mining company’s recent acquisitions will allow it to consolidate its copper assets in South Australia and, in turn, strengthen its position as a copper producer. Mundoro’s copper exploration targets are all located in the region of Timok in the western Tethyan Belt, Serbia.
Mundoro CEO Teo Dechev stated that the company was looking forward to beginning field exploration at the Timok Properties. These properties comprise of roughly 4 billion tons in porphyry systems over five known mines. The properties host the largest copper-gold porphyry deposits, which include the Majdanpek and Veliki Krivelj open-pit mines, the Cerovo porphyry copper gold open-pit mine, the Bor underground mine and the Cukaru-Pekiepithermal copper-gold and porphyry copper deposit.
BHP announced that its top priority was growing its nickel and copper business in an effort to diversify its portfolio away from fossil fuels. The mining company already owns stakes in a nickel firm located in Tanzania and a copper exploration firm in Ecuador.
Rio Tinto also has operations in Serbia, focused on developing a lithium mine. Progress has been slow, however, following protests by opposition groups and environmentalists over pollution risks, which saw the government revoke the mining company’s licenses. This may soon change after Servia President Aleksandar Vučić recently announced that the decision to stop development at the project may be revisited.
The outlook for copper is looking increasingly bullish, and it wouldn’t be surprising if major miners of this commodity such as Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE: SCCO) beef up their production capacity around the world in the way that BHP and Rio Tinto are doing.
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