Copper prices softened ~8% in June after hitting record highs in May, but Citi have upgraded their near-term outlook in light of the recent sell-off and remain bullish on prices over the next 3-6 months.

But even with a hiccup, the outlook for the red metal looks sustainable in the long run – and these copper players could be on track to benefit.

Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR)

Sandfire has secured the mining licence for Motheo Copper Mine in Botswana which is kind of a big deal as it’s the last permitting milestone for the full-scale construction of the US$279 million (A$364 million) project.

It’s full steam ahead now, with site works already underway. Managing director and CEO Karl Simich said Motheo will “come on-stream in 2023 as one of very few new copper mines commencing production globally.”

The updated mineral resource for the satellite A4 deposit is expected in the coming weeks, and will form the cornerstone of the company’s strategy to rapidly expand production at Motheo from 3.2 million tpa to 5.2 million tpa.

Golden Mile (ASX:G88)

Premilinary results from a helicopter electromagnetic (HEM) survey on the company’s Yarrambee project in WA look promising – with 48 high priority base metal targets identified.

Three of the copper-zinc targets will be immediately followed up, one of which is associated with the Narndee prospect, where historical drilling and prospecting defined a copper-zinc mineralised system.

Plans now include a field reconnaissance trip this month and ground-based geophysical surveys to define targets for drill testing in the coming months.

Stavely Minerals (ASX:SVY)

Air-core drilling at Stavely’s Toora West prospect (part of the Stavely project in VIC) has provided strong evidence of an emerging porphyry discovery – pending confirmation by follow up diamond drilling.

Executive chairman Chris Cairns it would “further leveraging our dominant, first-mover position in this under-explored district and complementing the emerging development project which we have at Thursday’s Gossan.”

Shallow mineral resource drilling is ongoing at the Cayley Lode is expected to be done by the end of the year with a maiden mineral resource estimate to follow – paving the way for a scoping study in Q1 2022.

Sultan Resources (ASX:SLZ)

Diamond drilling at the company’s Big Hill porphyry gold-copper prospect has just wrapped up and managing director Steve Groves said that while assays are pending, the results are “extremely encouraging, and indicate that we are in the distal alteration halo of a potential buried alkalic porphyry gold-copper system.”

Once the assays are in the company can do some follow up drilling, and in the meantime, they’re also reviewing the potentially related, outcropping Razorback copper-gold skarn target for shallow reverse circulation drill testing.

Sky Metals (ASX:SKY)

Sky Metals has just purchased the Galwadgere copper-gold project in NSW from Alkane Resources (ASX:ALK)which hosts a respectable inferred resource of 3.6 million tonnes at 0.82% copper and 0.27 g/t gold.

Soil sampling has identified two anomalies to follow up which are within 3km of the resource – so could potentially support the case for along strike exploration.

Askari Metals (ASX:AS2)

Then there’s the freshly listed Askari Metals, which got off to a strong start on the ASX this morning. AS2 plans to conduct follow up exploration this month on the high-grade copper at surface identified within its Horry project (WA) – which is along strike of the Halls Creek copper project owned by Cazaly Resources (ASX:CAZ).