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Two Australian companies are confident that copper prices will continue to set records, with the red metal reaching a new high of $US10,724.50 ($13,682) on the London Metal Exchange (LME) overnight.

Copper’s previous all-time high was recorded on May 7, where it reached $US10,361.

Junior explorers Kincora Copper and QMines started trading on the ASX in March and May, respectively, with both companies aiming to develop their copper assets.

QMines executive chairman Andrew Sparke said 11 straight months of decreased copper supply in Chile and COVID-19-related labour issues in South America have raised demand.

“The amount of copper we need to green the world is enormous,” he told Australian Mining.

“Where all this copper supply is going to come from is certainly yet to be determined. That backdrop is causing declining investors on the LME.

“It’s a really nice environment to be a copper explorer or company transition into copper development.”

Copper has been in high demand due to increases in economic stimulus from COVID-19.

Strained supply of the commodity has driven the copper price upwards, off the back of economic stimulus spending and copper’s importance in clean energy technology.

Sparke said ageing mines in South America, a country that has historically been a major supplier of the red metal, caused resources to be harder to extract as mines were forced to go deeper underground.

“My view is demand will increase when supply is quite challenged. That is supported by many groups – Goldman Sachs is expecting a 600-900 per cent increase in copper demand until 2030,” he said.

QMines is developing its copper projects in Queensland, with its ASX listing aiming to fund a large exploration program at its Mt Chalmers copper-gold mine, a historic site that was operated between 1898 and 1982.

Its existing inferred resource is 3.9 million tonnes at 1.15 per cent copper and 0.81 grams per tonne of gold.

“In terms of unlocking value, we’re going to use those proceeds from the capital raised to roll out an exploration program that has an aim of increasing the resource,” Sparke said.

Kincora Copper president and chief executive officer Sam Spring said the push for decarbonisation and stimulus packages has increased copper demand.

“It’s a tailwind for the junior sector,” he told Australian Mining. “The improving copper price increases investor sentiment and that filters down to the junior miners who increase exploration with brownfield and greenfield projects.”

Kincora Copper has assets both in Australia and Mongolia, with the company listed on the ASX and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

Spring said copper was vital to a clean energy future due to its conductive properties.

“One thing about copper is that it’s the most cost-effective means to conduct electricity, both powering the vehicle, and getting power to the charging point. The shift from carbon cars to electric vehicles will see an increase in copper demand,” he said.

“It’s the same narrative for energy use at home from traditional power to solar and the likes. The foundation for this move in copper price has been in place for quite some time.”