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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  BHP Group    BHP   GB00BH0P3Z91

BHP GROUP

(BHP)
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U.S. copper frenzy grows as Rio Tinto plans $1.5 billion Utah mine expansion

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12/03/2019 | 12:21pm EST
The Rio Tinto mine in Boron, California

Rio Tinto Plc said on Tuesday it would spend $1.5 billion to expand its Kennecott copper mine in Utah, part of a growing trend by miners to invest in strategic mineral projects across the United States.

The move more than doubles the mining industry's recent investment in U.S. copper projects, as Tesla Inc and other automakers demand more of the red metal for electric vehicle motors and other components.

"We like copper. We like the U.S.," Rio Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in an interview. "If we had not taken this decision, our position in the U.S. market would be shrinking."

Rio said the investment will extend the life of the more-than 100-year-old open-pit mine near Salt Lake City from 2026 through 2032, with the potential to keep it operational thereafter. The expansion project, which Rio said will generate "attractive returns" without elaborating, is set to get underway next year.

Once seen as a laggard in the global mining industry, U.S. copper deposits have drawn more than $1.1 billion in recent investments from small and large miners alike before Rio's Tuesday announcement.

U.S. President Donald Trump has moved to cut mining regulations since taking office in a bid to encourage domestic mining and also offset China's control of key parts of the military weapons supply chain, efforts that have dovetailed with those in the U.S. Congress.

The Kennecott mine on privately-owned land produces nearly 20% of the U.S. copper production, as well as gold and silver. Rio operates one of three U.S. copper smelters at the site.

The Anglo-Australian company had telegraphed last year https://www.reuters.com/article/us-rio-tinto-copper/rio-tinto-ready-to-splash-out-on-copper-idUSKBN1JP0LB that it was on the hunt for fresh copper, though analysts had assumed a large acquisition rather than expansion of an existing asset, was likely.

Rio has faced recent challenges in other parts of its copper portfolio. Its Mongolian copper mine project hit a major setback last month when lawmakers there approved plans to revise the terms of an agreement underpinning the multibillion-dollar development.

In Arizona, Rio's Resolution underground copper project with BHP Group has spent years waiting for U.S. approval, though the permit logjam appears to be clearing.

Rio also said on Tuesday it was working with U.S. government scientists to extract rhenium and tellurium - used in jet engines and military explosives - from Kennecott's refiners and smelters.

Rivals Glencore Plc and Freeport-McMoRan Inc also have U.S. mining projects under development.

By Ernest Scheyder

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHP GROUP 0.70% 1721.4 Delayed Quote.3.57%
GLENCORE 0.62% 218.75 Delayed Quote.-25.50%
LME COPPER CASH 1.17% 6055 End-of-day quote.3.70%
RIO TINTO PLC 1.08% 4303.5 Delayed Quote.14.12%
SILVER 0.11% 16.672 Delayed Quote.7.38%
TESLA INC. 2.74% 348.84 Delayed Quote.4.82%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 44 785 M
EBIT 2020 17 826 M
Net income 2020 10 474 M
Debt 2020 10 411 M
Yield 2020 5,23%
P/E ratio 2020 12,6x
P/E ratio 2021 14,4x
EV / Sales2020 3,02x
EV / Sales2021 3,07x
Capitalization 125 B
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Technical analysis trends BHP GROUP
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Income Statement Evolution
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 17
Average target price 25,13  $
Last Close Price 26,19  $
Spread / Highest target 4,01%
Spread / Average Target -4,06%
Spread / Lowest Target -22,4%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Andrew Mackenzie CEO & Non-Independent Executive Director
Mike Henry Chief Executive Officer-Elect
John Kenneth Norman MacKenzie Chairman
Daniel Malchuk President-Americas Minerals Operations
Geraldine Ann Slattery President-Operations Petroleum
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
BHP GROUP3.57%124 786
BHP GROUP12.36%124 786
RIO TINTO PLC14.12%94 915
ANGLO AMERICAN PLC18.78%33 768
GRUPO MÉXICO, S.A.B. DE C.V.24.53%20 394
SOUTH32-19.10%9 003