Spain's fabled Rio Tinto copper mine to restart in 2015-EMED

Wed Aug 7, 2013 5:28am EDT
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KALGOORLIE, Australia Aug 7 (Reuters) - EMED Mining is making plans to restart Spain's fabled Rio Tinto copper mine in early 2015, citing a mini-mining boom in the copper-rich Iberian Peninsula that is attracting foreign mining companies.

Production at the Rio Tinto mine would start at around 40,000 tonnes per year, rising to 60,000 tonnes within two years, said EMED Managing Director Harry Anagnostaras-Adams.

Anagnostaras-Adams said the mine will employ 1,000 people in a region where around 50 percent of the workforce is jobless.

"This area is in the forefront of a resurgence in mining in Europe," Anagnostaras-Adams told Reuters on the side of the Diggers and Dealers mining conference.

Others operating in the region include Iberian Minerals-Trafigura , Inmet Mining, First Quantum and Lundin Mining.

Copper prices have been stuck in a $6,600-$7,100 band since mid-June and are down around 12 percent for the year, hit by concerns over the world's two biggest economies, China and the United States. The metal is used in power and construction.

But Anagnostaras-Adams said a "structural problem" exists in copper mining where low investment was setting the stage for an under-supplied global marketplace, which could boost prices.

European countries, including Spain and Portugal, are attracting investment with good grades of ore, a large labour pool and revamped mining regulations.

The Rio Tinto copper mine's modern history dates back 1871 when the Spanish government sold it to a British firm which eventually became the global miner Rio Tinto .   Continued...