Gantheaume Point in Broome, Western Australia

Western Australia is best known for its iron and gold output, but copper stocks in the state are making moves as well.

Western Australia is viewed as the engine room of Australia's mining industry, but it's not a major player when it comes to copper production and known resources — that crown sits firmly atop South Australia.

Nevertheless, while Western Australia is best known for its iron and gold output, two sectors it has cornered in Australia, it's also home to many base metals mines and exploration projects. At least eight individual base metals projects and operations have been identified by Geoscience Australia, with copper featuring in each of them.

Being home to such a large gold- and iron-mining industry, Western Australia hosts some of the largest mining companies in the world and attracts many prospective exploration and development companies.


That means investors looking at copper in the state have a healthy selection of investment opportunities, ranging from the likes of giants Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM,OTC Pink:NCMGF) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO) to smaller companies like Cyprium Metals (ASX:CYM) and Venturex Resources (ASX:VXR)

All of those companies are accessible through the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) — and you can click here for a convenient guide on investing on the exchange.

We'll get back to the companies themselves shortly. First, more on copper in Western Australia. Without belabouring the point, Western Australia is one of the premier mining investment jurisdictions in the world, accounting for some 57 percent of all mining investment in the country, according to its Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).

In the 2018/2019 fiscal year, almost AU$17 billion in investment was dumped into the state, as per the WA Mining Club, with that investment yielding healthy returns in the same year of AU$107 billion in sales.

The industry is also very healthy. At the end of 2020, DMIRS reported that the mining of minerals and petroleum yielded AU$174 billion in sales for the state — 94.32 percent of all exports in that year.

Base metals (under which DMIRS includes copper, zinc and lead) accounted for AU$1.4 billion of that total.

Furthermore, Western Australia ranks highly in the Fraser Institute's annual survey of mining companies. The state is the top Australian jurisdiction for investment attractiveness, and comes in fourth worldwide, falling beyond only Nevada, Arizona and Saskatchewan in 2020.

Now on to the companies — below is a list of stocks that are listed on the ASX and are operating in the copper space in Western Australia. All stats were current as of October 11, 2021, and companies are listed in order of market cap from largest to smallest.

1. Rio Tinto

Market cap: AU$155.39 billion; current share price: AU$102.25

As one of the largest miners in the world, it's no surprise that Rio Tinto has a copper pot on the boil in Western Australia, where the company already earns tens of millions in iron ore earnings.

Rio's copper interests in the state are centered on the Winu prospect in the north of Western Australia, which has an inferred mineral resource of 503 million tonnes at 0.45 copper equivalent.

"Study work to date suggests the copper mineralisation supports the development of a relatively shallow open-pit mine, combined with industry-standard processing technology that is used at other Rio Tinto sites," reported the company in mid-2020.

2. Newcrest Mining

Market cap: AU$19.55 billion; current share price: AU$23.87

Newcrest Mining is one of the big players in Western Australian copper. The company is the 100 percent owner of the Telfer gold-copper mine near Port Hedland in the northern portion of the state. Telfer consists of open-pit and underground operations, and produced 16,000 tonnes of copper in 2020, states a 2020 annual report.

3. Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR)

Market cap: AU$1.93 billion; current share price: AU$5.39

Sandfire Resources owns and operates the DeGrussa copper-gold operations some 900 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia's capital. The company has two mines on the site: DeGrussa and Monty.

The operations have been humming along nicely since 2012 (having only been discovered in 2009). Degrussa produced 72,238 tonnes of copper in 2020, along with 42,263 ounces of gold.

4. Cyprium Metals

Market cap: AU$107.32 million; current share price: AU$0.19

Cyprium Metals is the owner of the Nifty copper operation, which it bought off Metals X (ASX:MLX,OTC Pink:MLXEF) in March 2021, along with the rest of Metals X's copper assets.

Collectively known as the Paterson projects by Cyprium, the assets are located in the famed Pilbara region. The Nifty mine produced 700,000 tonnes of copper between the time that it opened 1993 and when it was placed into care and maintenance in 2019.

5. Anax Metals (ASX:ANX)

Market cap: AU$32.92 million; current share price: AU$0.09

Anax Metals has an 80 percent interest in the Whim Creek copper project in the Pilbara. Its partner is the well-funded Venturex Resources (20 percent). Anax has a binding royalty agreement with Anglo American (LSE:AAL,OTCQX:AAUKF) for a 1 percent net smelter return for copper and zinc production at the project, which yields the company US$20 million for capital expenses and development.

The project is deep in the development stage, with environmental studies, geotechnical studies and infrastructure assessments underway.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Copper Mountain Mining Corporation  is pleased to announce positive results from 48 drill holes, totaling 7,936 metres, drilled on the C6, C1 and C2 targets at its Cameron Copper Project as part of ongoing exploration at the property.  The drill program encountered intercepts of high-grade mineralization, within long, low-grade mineralized envelopes, with lateral continuity between intercepts of up to 1 kilometre. …

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX: CMMC) (ASX: C6C) (the “Company” or “Copper Mountain”) is pleased to announce positive results from 48 drill holes, totaling 7,936 metres, drilled on the C6, C1 and C2 targets at its Cameron Copper Project (“Cameron”), as part of ongoing exploration at the property. The drill program encountered intercepts of high-grade mineralization, within long, low-grade mineralized envelopes, with lateral continuity between intercepts of up to 1 kilometre. The Company plans to carry out further drilling that will also include new undrilled targets with significant copper-gold anomalies in surface soil and rock samples. Cameron is situated 40 kilometres south of the Company’s Eva Copper Project (“Eva”), located in the Mount Isa region of Queensland, Australia near Cloncurry. See Appendix 1 for a regional location map. View PDF

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Copper Mountain Mining Corporation will be hosting a conference call on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 7:30 am for senior management to discuss its third quarter 2021 results. The Company will be releasing its third quarter 2021 financial and operating results before markets open on Monday, November 1, 2021 . Dial-in information: Toronto and international: 1 764 8650 North America : 1 664 6383 Webcast: Replay …

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX: CMMC) (ASX: C6C) (the “Company” or “Copper Mountain”) will be hosting a conference call on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 7:30 am (Pacific Time) for senior management to discuss its third quarter 2021 results. The Company will be releasing its third quarter 2021 financial and operating results before markets open on Monday, November 1, 2021 .

Dial-in information:
Toronto and international: 1 (416) 764 8650
North America (toll-free): 1 (888) 664 6383
Webcast: https://produceredition.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1501080&tp_key=fd3437f8d3

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Copper Mountain Mining Corporation  is pleased to announce that it has successfully installed and commenced commissioning of the third ball mill at its Copper Mountain Mine, which is located in southern British Columbia, Canada near the town of Princeton.  The installation of the third ball mill completes the Ball Mill 3 Expansion Project which will increase plant milling capacity to 45,000 tonnes per day from …

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX: CMMC) (ASX:C6C) (the “Company” or “Copper Mountain”) is pleased to announce that it has successfully installed and commenced commissioning of the third ball mill at its Copper Mountain Mine, which is located in southern British Columbia, Canada near the town of Princeton. The installation of the third ball mill completes the Ball Mill 3 Expansion Project which will increase plant milling capacity to 45,000 tonnes per day from 40,000 tonnes per day.

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Australia took a stand against Facebook and Google earlier this year, and the move could have long-term implications for tech investors.

It was a ban that sent Australians wild and had the whole world watching.

Back in February, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stopped users in Australia from posting news in a week-long blackout, reacting to proposed legislation that would have forced the social media behemoth to pay publishers for content.

What prompted Facebook to "friend" Australia again, and what are the potential long-term implications of the squabble? Read on to learn what tech-focused investors in Australia should know about the situation.


Australia squares off against Facebook

On February 25 of this year, Australia's federal government passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. It was developed after extensive analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is aimed at ensuring that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for their content.

It stipulates that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google (both named in the documentation) must pay news outlets whose content they feature — for example, if content is shared on Facebook or shows up in Google search results. The idea is that this will help to sustain journalism in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Google didn't react well to the code, which was first introduced in 2020.

Google didn't make any moves after it passed, but Facebook quickly made it impossible for Australian users to share news content, and pages for both local and international news organisations went blank — a major concern given the COVID-19 and wildfire concerns that were circulating at the time.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was scathing about Facebook's decision — which he ironically shared in a Facebook post — declaring the tech giant's actions "as arrogant as they were disappointing." He added, "These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them."

Despite strong feelings from both Australia and Facebook, the dispute was resolved fairly quickly, with the country agreeing to make four amendments to the legislation and Facebook restoring Australian's access to news.

Implications for Big Tech and news organisations

Both Australia and Facebook have claimed victory in the dispute, with a Facebook representative saying the company will be able to decide if news appears on the platform — meaning it won't automatically have to negotiate with any news businesses. Changes were also made to the arbitration process.

Tech experts have pointed out that larger news companies may ultimately benefit from the changes, but smaller ones could be pushed to the side. Major publishers that have struck agreements with tech giants, such as News Corp, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC,OTC Pink:NNMTF), Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Guardian Australia, may be able to increase their market share while smaller independent players lose out.

A business that is in full support of the laws is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). During the conflict, President Brad Smith came out loudly in favour of Australia's law, and advised that his company is willing to step up with search engine Bing should Google and/or Facebook pull out of the Australian market.

"In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press. The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, including by explaining how they display news content," he said in a blog post.

"The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead."

Global reach and tech investor impact

Six months down the road from Australia's landmark legislation, it's tough to say what the long-term impact may be.

That said, market watchers do believe the country is part of a new precedent of forcing Big Tech into paying for journalism — something giants Facebook and Google are not used to.

Countries looking to pursue similar legislation include Canada, where Facebook agreed in May to pay 14 publishers to link to their articles on its COVID-19 and climate science pages, as well as other unspecified use cases. Canada is pursuing other avenues too. Meanwhile, in France, Google said it will pay publishers for news content after the country took up new EU copyright laws that make digital platforms liable for infringements.

For investors, the takeaway is perhaps that while companies like Facebook and Google may seem too big too fail, they too can fall subject to new regulations that can change how they do business. As nations around the world look to take back control from these mega companies, it's important to be aware of possible effects on their bottom lines.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Queensland is the 16th most attractive jurisdiction in the world, sneaking in above BC and the Yukon in Canada, and just behind New Mexico in the US.

Queensland is one of the top three Australian jurisdictions for copper.

While it's well behind South Australia, a behemoth in the country for resources and production, Queensland hosts some 12 percent of all known Australian copper deposits, level with its southern neighbour New South Wales.

A premier mining jurisdiction globally, Queensland is ranked third out of all Australian jurisdictions for mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute. Globally, it's ranked as the 16th most attractive jurisdiction, sneaking in above BC and the Yukon in Canada, and just behind New Mexico in the US.


The state is renowned for its mining prowess in Australia, and is known as one of the resource states, with a large chunk of its economic heft coming from the mining industry and its operations across the vast state.

Overall, mining accounts for 11.7 percent of Queensland's economy, with coal and liquefied natural gas being the primary focus of output. Together, coal, gas and mineral exports account for over 80 percent of Queensland's exports, according to the state government.

Having said that, copper plays a large role, and Queensland is home to the second biggest producer of copper in Australia in the form of Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Mount Isa mining complex in the northwest of the state. There, Glencore owns and operates the Enterprise and X41 mines.

Aside from Mount Isa, Glencore owns the nearby Ernest Henry copper mine. Combined, Glencore's Queensland operations produced 138,800 tonnes of copper in 2020 — accounting for a little over 10 percent of the company's global copper production. Glencore isn't listed on the ASX, but can be found on the LSE.

Besides the Mount Isa complex itself, there's also a handful of other operational mines in the northwestern portion of the state, although most of them are privately owned, such as the Capricorn copper project, which is a joint venture between EMR Capital and Lighthouse Minerals; it secured itself "prescribed project" status in 2017.

Other privately owned projects include Round Oak's Barbara project (in care and maintenance), Chinese-backed CuDECO's Rockland copper project (mothballed, CuDECO in liquidation) and Chinova's Osborne mine — which was originally set up by Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN,OTCQX:IVPAF). There's also the Balcooma mine, which Royal Gold (NASDAQ:RGLD) has copper royalties on, and the privately owned Mount Cuthbert mine.

Many of the mentioned projects ran into trouble in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting company operations.

All in all, Queensland has 13 operational copper mines, but as can be seen many are in private hands, making investment opportunities somewhat slim. Aside from previously mentioned Glencore operations, there's Red River Resources (ASX:RVR,OTC Pink:RRRDF), which owns the Thalanga operations near Charters Towers. Red River acquired Thalanga in 2014, and has been working to develop the legacy site back into a viable investment.

From the beginning of production in 2017, the operations have a lifespan of some 10 years, according to Red River, with further development and exploration options on the table. In its most recent quarterly report, Thalanga reported output of 3,086 tonnes of copper concentrate.

The remainder of the options on the table for investors are exploration focused, such as Copper Mountain Mining (ASX:C6C,OTC Pink:CPPMF) with interests in the Eva copper project, which is — unsurprisingly — in the northwest of the state, near the town of Cloncurry. Eva is in the development phase, with a feasibility study completed in early 2020 envisaging a 15 year mine life with an annual expected output of 106 million pounds of copper equivalent.

There's also Global Energy Metals (TSXV:GEMC,OTCQB:GBLEF), which like Glencore isn't on the ASX, but has interests in the Millenium cobalt-copper-gold project and others near Mount Isa — all in the exploration stage.

Aside from that, Strategic Energy Resources (ASX:SER) acquired exploration licences from Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM,OTC Pink:NCMGF) in May 2021 for licences around Mount Isa, and Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC) is exploring the Develin Creek copper-zinc project. Zenith recently divested from another copper project, Flannagans, in June 2021 by selling its interests to a private company for $450,000.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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