anAust (PNA) is a mid-tier miner that holds mineral assets in Laos, Chile and Thailand.
In Laos, PanAust operates the large Phu Kham copper-gold operation, which commenced production of copper-gold concentrate in April 2008.
The Ban Houayxai Gold-Silver mine, which is also located in Laos, commenced commercial production in June 2012.
There has been a big copper sell-down in 2014, with prices down approximately 14% in the year-to-date.
The copper price sell-off follows a period of sustained declines in copper inventories at the London Metals Exchange (LME) and the US-based Commodity Exchange (COMEX).
These trends are graphed below; front month copper futures (white shaded line), LME inventories (pink line) and COMEX stockpiles (green line).
Even though copper inventories have been falling for almost a year, prices have come under pressure amid growing fears over China.
Last weekend’s data revealed the biggest monthly slide in Chinese exports since 2009, heightening concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy.
China’s exports crashed in February, dropping by 18.1% year-on-year, compared with 10.6% gain in January.
The slide in its exports saw China swing from a surplus of $31.9 billion in January to a deficit of $23 billion in February.
Given copper’s widespread industrial use, the slowdown in China’s economy has stoked fears of a collapse in demand for the red metal.
The copper price drop reflects concerns demand is plummeting at a faster rate than the drawdown in inventories.