The positive long-term outlook for copper remains intact, the head of Rio Tinto’s copper division said today, adding his voice to a chorus of mining executives reluctant to call time on the resources boom.
Debate over whether the decade-long bull run in commodities has ended has ramped up in recent days as China heads for the slowest pace of annual growth in more than a decade, driving down the prices of copper, iron ore and other raw materials.
Rio’s larger rival, BHP Billiton, earlier this week shelved tens of billions of dollars in expansion plans due to soaring development costs, a high Australian dollar and an uncertain outlook, prompting Australia’s resources minister to say the boom was over.
“The long-term copper outlook remains positive,” Andrew Harding said at Rio’s 55,000 tonnes-per-year Northparkes copper mine in western New South Wales.
“Global growth in supply of copper is still challenged. People are still struggling to meet their production targets.”
Harding said that while Chinese copper demand faced a slowdown, the longer term was brighter and he had “no doubt” Beijing’s efforts to stimulate the Chinese economy would succeed