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Teck mulls acquisitions in copper, iron ore

Keywords: Tags  Teck Resources, Don Lindsay, copper, copper prices, molybdenum, iron ore, Quebrada Blanca Mine, Relincho Mine Suzy Waite

NEW YORK — Teck Resources Ltd. is mulling copper and iron ore acquisition opportunities this year, president and chief executive officer Don Lindsay said during a call following the release of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings results.

"Copper is obviously a priority for us (with) declining production over the next couple of years," he said, adding that an acquisition that "might fill the gap there" could be of interest to Vancouver, British Columbia-based Teck.

Copper cathode production at the company’s Quebrada Blanca Mine in northern Chile is expected to drop to 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes in 2013 from 62,200 tonnes in 2012 as the mine nears the end of its life.

Any acquisition is dependent on long-term copper prices, and Teck is forecasting an average copper price of $3 to $3.25 per pound for the next few years, Lindsay said.

Comex copper for March delivery, the most actively traded contract, settled at $3.727 per pound Feb. 7.

Iron ore would also be a "good fit" for the company, Lindsay said, adding that Teck is researching various iron ore opportunities around the world.

Teck’s feasibility study for its copper and molybdenum Relincho Mine project in Chile has been pushed back to the fourth quarter of 2013 due to permitting delays. Relincho is expected to produce 180,000 tonnes of copper and 6,000 tonnes of molybdenum annually during its 22-year mine life.

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