19 May 2014

Women in Mining

On 1 May 2014, with over 120 attendees, Herbert Smith Freehills (London office) hosted the inaugural "Copper: Bears vs Bulls" debate, organised by Women in Mining (WIM) in collaboration with the Association of Mining Analysts (AMA).

Copper is the highest value base metals product and offers the greatest diversity of use, and so has often been considered the 'bellwether' of the commodity market.  In comparison to other metals, copper offers the widest divergence of opinion as to its current status and future, and so the debate canvassed views on the outlook for copper demand and price in the short to medium term.

Chris Welch (Chairman of the AMA) moderated the debate, with panellists Paul Dewison (SNL Financial), Robin Bhar (Societe Generale) Olivia Ker (BlackRock) and Bruce Always (Thomson Reuters).

Some key discussion points emerged during the debate and Q&A from the floor:

  • There was a debate about whether copper consumption will increase or decrease in the future. Various factors such as a growing electronics market, general growth in building works in emerging markets and the potential uses of anti-bacterial copper for medical purposes were raised. 
  • This needs to be weighed against future available supplies of copper, both in the form of scrap/existing stock and in the form of new production.  
  • There was also a lot of discussion about the ability to bring new projects on line. Factors such as the decrease in exploration by mining companies, access to financing, availability of road/rail, power and water for projects, increased regulatory restrictions and political risks were discussed.

Jennifer Bell, a partner in the HSF London mining practice, who arranged hosting of the event with WIM together with Rebecca Major (partner in the HSF Paris office), commented "We were delighted to host this informative and lively debate, with so many industry participants, for WIM and AMA.  The panellists distilled complex issues to provide a real insight into the tensions in the copper market, both currently and in the mid-term".

For further information, please contact Jennifer Bell, Partner, London or Rebecca Major, Partner, Paris or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

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