A swathe of updates from big mining companies is due over the next couple of days.
Results from First Quantum (TSE:FM) and Lundin Mining (TSE:LUN) are also due within the next couple of days.
So what should investors be expecting?
Lots of talk about ESG, for a start. That’s the hot-button topic as far as mining’s intersection with the capital markets is concerned these days, and most companies are scrambling to put a responsible message front and centre of any news that might also include cashflow and profits.
For some years now, it has been commonplace in the mining sector to highlight workers’ safety, as measured by deaths and lost-time-injuries, in such results, but following a series of catastrophic tailings dam failures and the destruction of a sacred aboriginal site last year, the industry has been under pressure to do more.
Those senior figures at Rio Tinto who regarded such exercises as mere window-dressing no longer have jobs, so there’s no question the issue is taken seriously in the sector. The question now will be, exactly what measures will be taken in ESG, and will they be effective?
Certainly, there’s not much doubt that the miners themselves can afford them. Commodity markets have been strong over the past 12 months or so, as the Chinese economy has bounced back from the initial coronavirus shock and returned to its standard pattern of significant GDP growth.
On a separate, but related note, stimulus packages from all the world’s major economies, including China, have created new demand for base metals and also exerted a downward pressure on the dollar.
Expect the mining companies to talk of increased demand across the board, particularly in copper and iron ore. In a recent major announcement, Rio Tinto, the destroyer of ancient monuments, attempted to position itself as a cornerstone in the creation of the new, green economy.
The amount of copper that gets used in electric vehicles gives that claim some credence, although it is noticeable that none of the major mining companies has any significant exposure to lithium.