SOURCE: AXcess News

June 26, 2008 15:33 ET

AXcess News: Copper Prices Rise as Demand Fuels Exploration

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - June 26, 2008) - "It's a phenomena," says Network Exploration Ltd. (TSX-V: NET) CFO, Richard Schnoor, in commenting on the copper mining activity in Chile, which produces 38% of the world's copper. Schnoor's comment came as copper futures rose to $3.86 Thursday in New York.

Copper futures for September delivery on the CMX traded up Thursday as supply-side concerns fueled market activity. In London, copper cash prices were $8,542 per tonne, open interest in contracts was 122,625 tonnes.

In Chile, where 38% of the world's copper is mined, much of the copper being exported is being loaded onto ships bound for China, Schnoor said. China imports in May were down 19% over year-ago levels and 26% below April at 94,196 tonne. On supplies, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics stated that copper output trailed demand by 42,000 tonne from January through April, narrowing a deficit of 135,800 tonne in the same period a year earlier. LME Copper stocks are currently hovering around 124,000 tonne.

Network Exploration's Schnoor, the former South American Exploration Manager for Noranda and former General Manager responsible for Latin America for Teck Peru S.A., says that while the 'easy finds' have already been discovered in Chile, demand is fueling greater levels of exploration that make it possible for junior mining companies like NET to elbow in on the boon in copper.

"People talk in pounds now, when referring to price," says Schnoor, crediting the growing demand for copper in Asia for the shift in economic thinking.

Network Exploration is focusing on South America with a copper and gold porphyry target located in the Huasco province within the third region (Atacama) of northern Chile. The company announced earlier this month that sampling indicated uniformity in the mineralization with plans to commence drilling to test copper and gold concentrations at depth.

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