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24 October | Copper

Copper prices rebound after hitting 11-month low

Credit: Parilov via Shutterstock

Copper prices rebounded on 23 October, after dropping to their lowest level since November 2022.

That morning prices fell by as much as 1.2% to $7,856 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange (LME), the lowest in 11 months.

However, by 1:38 pm Eastern Standard Time, November delivery contracts had risen by 0.8% reaching $7,889 per tonne on the Comex market in New York. LME-tracked stockpiles of copper also jumped to their highest level since October 2022 last week.

A slump in Chinese demand has been a large driver of lower prices. In September, demand for the metal fell at a time when it usually picks up. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, total profits of industrial enterprises in China from January to July were down 11.7% year-on-year.

16 October | Gold

Barrick to restart gold mining in Papua New Guinea

Canadian mining company Barrick Gold has been permitted by the Government of Papua New Guinea to restart operations at the Porgera gold mine, which has been out of action for three years.

In April 2020, the Papua New Guinea Government took control of the mine after refusing to extend Barrick’s special mining lease at the facility. Prime Minister James Marape cited environmental concerns with the project that were behind the government’s decision.

On Friday, Barrick announced that New Porgera Ltd was granted a special mining lease by Bob Dadae, the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea. The operation is set to produce 700,000oz per year of gold. Before production was halted, the mine produced 600,000oz of gold in 2019.

10 October | Social license

Rio Tinto says Aboriginal site not damaged, but tension remains

Mining giant Rio Tinto said there had been no damage to the structure of a rock shelter at an Aboriginal heritage site in Western Australia following blasting at its Nammuldi iron ore operations. Rio Tinto claimed this after an inspection over the weekend.

On 6 August 2023, a drone assessment revealed that a Pilbara scrub tree and a 1m² rock had been dislodged from their position in the rock shelter. Rio Tinto claimed that blasting at the Nammuldi site had not caused any structural damage, nor had it impacted cultural materials.

The Nammuldi area is home to the Muntulgura Guruma people, represented by the Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC). Aaron Rayner, the chief operating officer of the WGAC, said at the time: “WGAC is disappointed by the report but is yet to establish the extent of the impact to the rock shelter.”

1 November | Deep-sea mining

UK announces support for moratorium on deep sea mining

The UK Government announced its support on Monday for a moratorium on the granting of exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects in an effort to aid the conservation of marine biodiversity.

The move comes just ahead of UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority (ISA) negotiations, also held on Monday in Jamaica, and one month ahead of the international climate summit COP28.

The moratorium seeks to suspend exploration rights for the mining of critical minerals and precious metals from below the seabed by the ISA. The government will not support the issuing of any licences until “sufficient scientific evidence” is made available to assess the potential impact of deep sea mining activities on marine ecosystems, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement. It added that the suspension will stand until strong, enforceable environmental regulations, standards and guidelines have been developed and adopted by the ISA.

24 October | AI

AI will severely impact almost a fifth of jobs, Indeed says

Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to effect almost a fifth of jobs at the highest level of exposure, according to research by leading jobs platform Indeed.

Indeed Hiring Lab, a team formed within the company to provide economic research into the global labour market, found that “all jobs face some potential exposure to GenAI-driven change”. Indeed’s AI at Work report, released in September, found that almost a fifth (19.8%) of jobs face the highest level of potential exposure, while over a third (34.6%) face the lowest potential exposure. The global recruitment giant has over 350 million people interacting with its recruitment products every month.

Filippo Bonsanti, VP of global marketing at Indeed, said on Tuesday (17 October), that every single job will be transformed by AI in some way, and it’s already begun. During his keynote speech at Unleash World 2023 in Paris, Bonsanti discussed how the company was using AI to help employers and potential employees.