The first new copper mine is set to go live after more than 40 years in the little Belt Mountains of central Montana. Sandfire Resources America Inc. (CVE:SFR) is the company behind the $250 million Black Butte copper project that could help reinvigorate the Canadian mining sector. As Sandfire eyes copper mining so are Teck Resources Ltd (TSE:TECK.B), Barrick Gold Corp (TSE:ABX) Eldorado Gold Corp (TSE:ELDO) already offering valuable investment opportunities.
In recent years, there has been concerns about the country’s mining sector amidst environment concerns as well as stringent regulatory frameworks. For instance, the oil and gas sector has experienced the largest decline in investments in recent years on regulatory pressures spooking investors.
Restrictions on new pipeline capacity has had a negative impact on Western Canadian crude oil exports. Just as the oil and gas sector has crumbled on regulatory constraints, Sandfire Resources also faces a similar fate as it eyes permits to extract some 15 million tons of copper in the Butter copper project.
Opposition from conservation as well as outdoor sporting groups who have raised concerns about the potential impact of the copper project on the Smith River is the latest headwind that Sandfire will have to deal with. The Smith River is one of the city’s treasured waterways that activist fear will suffer a great deal should copper mining commence at the Butte mines.
Amidst the concerns raised by the activist groups, state regulators are likely to approve the Sandfire mine after an environmental impact statement concluded a copper mine will not harm water quality in the Smith River.
In a bid to ramp up support for the $250 million copper project, Sandfire Resources says it will access stem copper deposit using a mile-long angled tunnel. The mine will be underground without any open pits as a way of conserving the environment. The company plans to process everything on site as soon as operations begin mid-2021.
Copper mining should give Montana the much-needed economic boost. The fact that Sandfire claims that the butte mine plays host to the second-highest grade copper deposits whose copper ore could fetch as much as $2.7 billion should also have a significant impact on the country’s mining sector.
Top Canadian Mining Stocks
As Sandfire moves to commence copper mining in 2021, Teck Resources should be in any investor’s portfolio looking to gain exposure to a diverse selection of natural resources. The company currently operates more than 15 mines in North and South America region. With a market cap of more than $10 billion Teck Resources mines mostly copper and coal as well as germanium and indium.
Eldorado Gold Corporation is another stock with tremendous potential in the mining sector. The gold producer with operations in China, Turkey, Greece, Brazil, and Canada is already reaping big as gold prices continue to edge higher.
With a market cap of more than $800 million, the company continues to provide excellent exposure on gold mining as it continues to operate three mines and several projects under development.
Barrick Gold is another mining stock enjoying an impressive ride on gold prices surging in recent months. Considered, as one of the biggest producers of the precious metal, the stock is an ideal pick for investors looking to invest in the country’s mining sector as well as gold production at large. The stock is already up by more than 10% and showing signs of fresh gains.