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14. August 2007

Ship carrying 50,000 tn copper to India sinks

A ship carrying copper from mines belonging to BHP Billiton Ltd., Xstrata Plc and Anglo American Plc ran aground off Chile while on its way to India. The Ocean Crown has about 50,000 metric tons of copper concentrate, a raw material used by smelters, BHP spokesman Illtud Harri said today in an e-mail. It has 43,478 tons from BHP’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, he said.
Five thousands tons of the cargo was from the Collahuasi copper mine in Chile, which is owned by Xstrata Plc and Anglo American Plc, Xstrata spokeswoman Claire Divver said in a telephone interview from London. The ship ran aground August 9 and had 25,000 tons of concentrate on board, Divver said.
The copper-concentrate market is ``extremely tight,’’ according to Macquarie Bank Ltd., Australia’s largest investment bank. The bank raised its copper-price forecast by 5.6 percent for this year and 7.7 percent for 2008 to reflect the shortage of the raw material, London-based analysts led by Jim Lennon and Adam Rowley said in a report today.
Damage to the ship is “extensive,’’ said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, operational manager of Five Oceans Salvage Consultants Ltd, the Athens-based company handling the salvage operation. Mitsotakis said today in a telephone interview he doesn’t know whether the ship is salvageable or how long the recovery will take.
BHP, which is based in Melbourne, is working with its Indian customers to mitigate any impact from the grounding, Harri said by telephone from London. He declined to disclose the customers’ identity or comment on whether they may be compensated. The ownership of concentrate from Collahuasi was transferred at loading and Xstrata isn’t responsible for any loss, Divver said.
American Metal Market reported the ship’s grounding on August 10, citing people it didn’t name. The ship carried about 40,000 tons of concentrate, the industry publication said.

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