MINING.com's top news stories of the year

The outlook for copper was MINING.com's top story of the year.

Published at the start of January, a collection of analysts predicted copper would be the best performing commodity of the year. (It wasn't. Copper gained 27% while cobalt was up 127%.)

MINING.com wasn't immune to the gravitational pull of Bitcoin in 2017. Our second most popular story was about a gold company that switched to the cryptocurrency and watched its stock jump 1,300%.

Rounding out the top five was a warning about getting caught up in a gold scamrare earth in North Korea and three reasons for the coming gold correction. Warning, these top trafficked posts are not really a measure of how important a news story is. Rather, lots of page views result from circumstances outside of our control: the story gets shared by the right person in a social feed or a Google news algorithm kicks into overdrive. Two of the top ten stories listed were published in prior years but suddenly captured reader attention again. That being said, the list is an interesting collection about what caught people's fancy. Three of the stories were about technology metals like lithium, cobalt and rare earth.

Note, this list excludes list articles, such as world's biggest gold deposits or the world's 40 biggest mining companies that are less news and more informational. Lists always do well, usually due to the reference-able nature of the article; someone is looking up the same subject of interest in his or her search engine.


1. Copper to be best performing commodity of 2017 — analysts

Copper, until recently one of the worst performing commodities of the past two years, experienced a sudden spike at the end of 2016, posing several questions as to the direction of the market as we move into 2017.


2. Gold company's stock jumps 1300% after switching to bitcoin

Bitcoin has been kicking the stuffing out of most mining stocks lately, as the cryptocurrency continues to climb to new heights.

Over the last three months bitcoin has doubled in value every month, but with the gains have come some truly scary volatility. In the last week of November bitcoin dropped $2,000, plunging from north of $11,000 to $9,428 in just one session. But as of Sunday, bitcoin was on the move again, last trading at $11,274.


3. Largest known rare earth deposit discovered in North Korea*

Privately-held SRE Minerals on Wednesday announced the discovery in North Korea of what is believed to be the largest deposit of rare earth elements anywhere in the world.

*Story published in 2013.


4. How to avoid being caught in a common gold scam*

Recently, I read an article about how Congo born, Dikembe Mutombo, an all-star NBA defender, was nicely scammed in a fake gold deal. Evidently, he and Houston based oil executive Kase Lawal were beguiled into believing that they could purchase around $30 million worth of the precious metal at a hugely discounted price to the prevailing global market price from dealers in the African country of Kenya.

*Story published in 2012.


5. Three reasons for coming gold price correction

Gold advanced to an eight-week high on Monday in relatively brisk holiday trading in the US as the metal find support from safe haven buyers worried about the broader geo-political impact of the incoming Trump administration, the fallout from Britain's exit from the EU and upcoming elections in Germany and France.


6. World’s first seabed gold, copper, silver mine to begin production in 2019

Canada’s Nautilus Minerals (TSX:NUS), one of the world's first seafloor miners, is on track to start operations at its Solwara 1 gold, copper and silver project off the coast of Papua Guinea in early 2019.


7. This is how much copper, nickel, cobalt an electric vehicle world needs

Glencore's investor day on Tuesday painted a positive picture not just of the Swiss miner and commodities trader's business but also had good news for the mining industry as a whole.


8. The lithium supply and demand story

Why lithium? Great question. In my opinion, it's simultaneously the simplest and most complex metal. Lithium's 'simplicity' comes from the fact that it's been used in industry for quite some time, and most of the general public know the metal in its battery form. Its complexity relates to the science behind how and why it's presently used, but more importantly, the role lithium will play in the future.


9. Joy Global becomes Komatsu Mining

US mining equipment maker Joy Global will be now known as Komatsu Mining as the Japanese giant has completed the $3.7 billion takeover first announced in July last year.


10. Freeport halts Grasberg mine, begins sending workers home

Shares in Freeport McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX), the world's largest listed copper miner, were down 1% in pre-market trading Tuesday on the company’s decision to halt operations at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia.

Creative Commons image of Bitcoin computer screen by Jonas Lejon