Australia’s Capricorn copper mine set to start production in Nov

MELBOURNE, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Capricorn Copper, a mine in the Australian state of Queensland, is set to start production this month, said the chief executive of its part owner, Australian private equity fund EMR Capital.

Capricorn will be one of just a few copper mines to come onstream globally in recent years, which has prompted sector analysts to warn of a possible shortfall in supply of the metal.

The operation, expected to produce 25,000 to 35,000 tonnes of copper concentrate a year, is a joint venture between EMR and mining group Lighthouse Minerals. They bought it in October 2015 after it was mothballed by former owner Aditya Birla in 2013 due to declining copper prices.

“It is on track to start production in November which will be quite a milestone,” Jason Chang told Reuters on Wednesday on the sidelines of a mining conference in Melbourne.

The global copper market is expected to be in a deficit next year for at least the fourth year in a row, according to industry body the International Copper Study Group. Australia is one of the world’s top copper producers.

EMR raised $860 million a year ago as part of its strategy to invest in copper, gold, potash and coking coal. It is looking to find at least one other project to invest in over the next 12 months, Chang added.

“We are seeing a strong pipeline of interesting opportunities from around the world including Australia.”

The miner in January said it would buy the Golden Grove copper mine in the state of Western Australia from China’s MMG Ltd.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton).

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