Hudbay is in talks to draw partner for Arizona copper project

10th November 2023 By: Bloomberg

Hudbay is in talks to draw partner for Arizona copper project

Copper producer Hudbay Minerals is having informal talks with prospective partners to develop a deposit in Arizona as the mining industry pushes to bolster North America’s supply of key metals.

The Canadian company is looking to either sell a minority stake or form a joint venture to help finance its Copper World project in the second half of 2024, CFO Eugene Lei said in an interview Thursday. He said Hudbay has already received strong interest from Japanese trading houses, copper majors and gold producers.

“We’ve been advancing relationships and discussions without officially launching a process,” Lei said, without identifying company names.

Mining companies have zeroed in on Arizona, a longtime hub for copper production, to develop projects to meet domestic demand for the widely used wiring metal. Rio Tinto Group has sought to develop its Resolution project east of Phoenix since 2008. Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Electric Inc. owns a deposit in Arizona that has backing from BHP Group and Saudi Arabia’s state-owned mining division. Meanwhile, top gold producers such as Newmont  and Barrick Gold have indicated interest in adding more copper to their output.

Copper World is about 257 km northwest of Phoenix. Hudbay estimates the project could yield 85 000 metric tons of copper per year when developed, with an expected mine life of 20 years.

“There’s very strong interest from Japanese trading houses and smelters for a traditional minority piece, which would allow us to build the project with a lower capital outlay and a strong long-term partner,” Lei said, adding that Hudbay is seeing “equally strong interest from strategics and gold companies.”