Lustrum Minerals (ASX:LRM) is pivoting away from thermal coal into copper with a deal to acquire 80 per cent of Larchmont Investments.

Larchmont holds a portfolio of copper claims in Canada, and will also be assigned an option to acquire up to 95 per cent in three prospecting licences prospective for copper-gold  in the prolific Kalahari Copper Belt, Namibia.

Lustrum, whose shares have been suspended from trading for about 10 months, says the decision was fuelled by the increasingly attractive copper market with prices at a two-year high.

It noted that the expansion of global industrialisation and electrification is forecast to drive copper demand over the next decade, while supplies drop as grades decline in existing mines.

The Canadian claims in central Ontario include Lynx copper-gold-silver deposit that is at an advanced stage of exploration.

Previous drilling has returned high-grade hits of 5m at 6.03 per cent copper from a depth of 96m, 7.5m at 4.94 per cent copper from 111m and 3.7m at 8.07 per cent copper from 195m.

Lynx also has a contained resource of 1.63 million tonnes grading 1.61 per cent copper, 0.66 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 39.68g/t silver.

The Namibian projects  are close to an airport, paved road and rail along with existing copper, gold and uranium mines. As part of the acquisition, Lustrum plans to raise between $3m and $5m to identify resources on the Namibian projects.

Meanwhile, Comet Resources (ASX:CRL) has completed a site inspection that confirms that the Gulf Creek Mine was a significant, historical copper mining operation within its Barraba project in New South Wales.

Planning is now being finalised for drilling, which represents the first comprehensive modern review of the project.

The initial focus of this drilling will be the historical Gulf Creek Mine, which previously produced copper at an average grade of 5 per cent.

LRM and CRL share price graphs


Nickel producer increasing production

ANTAM (ASX:ATM) has increased unaudited nickel production from its Indonesian mines during the second quarter of 2020.

Its ferronickel production increased 2 per cent from the previous quarter to 6,447 tons while production of nickel ore, which is used as feedstock and sold to domestic customers, increased by 18 per cent to 745,000 wet metric tons.

The company noted that with the world economy recovering and positive sentiment for nickel, it expects its nickel business to improve its profit margins this year.