The company I’ve worked the last 20 years for supports the copper mining industry. From about late 1999 through the first quarter of 2004, copper prices were below a dollar a pound. Depending on the mine, it costs $0.60 to over a dollar to produce. Needless to say, the mines weren’t very profitable, and they didn’t spend very much of the money they weren’t making. Not much was spent on preventive maintenance, and a lot of them cut back or just shut down. We went from supporting about five mining companies and fifteen or so mines to two mining companies and about six mines. Our competition fared about as well. We’re still here. Many of them are not.

Look at this chart, though:

Remember, if the price is over a dollar a pound, it’s profit.

Needless to say, we’re just a wee bit busy at the moment, as every property within reach and outside of it is doing everything in their power to make every ounce of copper they can. They’re doing stuff like buying equipment to increase production, but not installing it because that would require turning off production for a couple of days. On top of that, during the downward trend we diversified into other areas – sand & gravel, lime, coal, cement, asphault, general industry. The economy in those sectors has improved as well. (It’s all George Bush’s fault.)

What I’m trying to illustrate here is I’m really busy. In fact, I’ll be at the office the rest of the day working on a couple of bids. One runs about $2 million, the other, well into six figures. One’s due Monday, the other Thursday, but I will be out of the office on Monday and Tuesday (six to seven hour round-trips both days, plus time on site.)

Let’s just say that if I don’t get anything posted over the next few days, it won’t be because I’m lazy.

I’m still working on that (hopefully) last piece on rights. I may (!) get it finished on Sunday, but don’t hold your breath.

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