For Immediate Release: Latest Data from SNL Metals & Mining Shows Copper Mine Production Costs Continue to Fall

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Announced today, after a decade of rising copper mine costs, analysis carried out by SNL Metals & Mining based on its recently-launched mine economics database shows that there has been a steady decline in total cash costs over the past three years.

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According to SNL Metals & Mining, the average spot price of copper averaged only US$5,700/t in February, under 260c/lb, but remains comfortably above SNL's prediction of this year's average mined cost of 168c/b, calculated on a co-product basis. This compares with an average total cash cost of 171c/lb in 2014 and 180c/lb in 2013. The copper price averaged 334c/lb in 2013 and 311c/lb in 2014.

On a by-product basis, ie the "normal costing" method, where revenue from secondary products is netted off the cost of producing copper, the industry's average cost this year is expected to be 126c/lb, compared with 129c/lb in 2014.

Mining costs have risen recently but there have been offsetting credits from by-product metals. Royalty charges have also steadily increased over the past decade; partly as a result of increased metal prices but also due to rising government royalty rates.
Analysis by SNL's Associate Director Charles Cooper highlights the current mine capacity vulnerable to closure following the decline in copper price over the past 12 months (2015E Copper Supply Cost Curve chart) and the evolution of copper total cash costs since 1991. SNL’s analysis of the cost:price relationship concludes that during cyclical low points in metal prices, the copper price has fallen to at least the 9th decile of high cost producers, which indicates that the copper price would need to fall further before significant capacity became vulnerable to closure.

Note to Editors:
SNL's Mine Economics platform models over 500 mines producing copper, iron ore, lead, nickel, molybdenum, uranium and zinc. The platinum group metals are to be added shortly, with gold, manganese and silver mines to be incorporated later this year. The coverage already exceeds 75% of global production for each metal.
Production data includes ore and waste mined, head grades, metal recovery, and concentrate and intermediary products.
Cost data includes mine site cash costs, milling and processing costs, by-product credits, royalties and production taxes. These costs can be analysed on the basis of by-products ("normal costing", where revenue from secondary products is netted off the cost of producing the primary metal) or co-products ("pro-rata costing", where costs are shared between all metals on a net revenue basis).

For journalists seeking more information for news coverage of this topic, please contact Christina Twomey by email, ctwomey(at)snl(dot)com.

For industry professionals seeking more information, email sales(at)snl(dot)com or call +1 866 296 3743 (US & Canada); +1 646 599 8087 (Latin America); +44 20 7398 0873 (Europe, Middle East & Africa); +852 5808 1882 (Asia-Pacific); +1 800 337 900 (Australia).

About SNL
SNL is a leading provider of financial information on more than 6,500 public companies and 50,000 private companies in the business sectors critical to the global economy: Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Real Estate, Energy, Metals & Mining and Media & Communications. The SNL information service integrates breaking news, comprehensive data and expert analysis into an electronic database available online and updated around the clock.

About SNL Metals & Mining
SNL Metals & Mining is the most trusted source of global mining information and analysis. The company draws on more than three decades of comprehensive information and analysis, with an unsurpassed level of experience and historical data. To help clients reach better decisions more quickly, SNL supplies raw data and sophisticated analysis based on unbiased research, reporting and consulting. From worldwide exploration, development, and production to strategic planning, M&A activity and more, SNL’s databases and studies help clients make confident decisions and, ultimately, improve results.

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Christina Twomey
SNL Financial
+1 (212) 542-8033
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