Chunks of native copper (or rocks painted to look like copper) lurking in the dark. Source: Adobe Stock
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Shares in AIC Mines (ASX:A1M) jumped 7.5% to 58cps in early trades on Friday as it won a key early-stage mining lease from the QLD government.

QLD resources minister Scott Stewart granted to AIC Mines the permit to mine an asset of interest called Jericho – a copper tenement the company acquired in January last year.

“To have the Mining Lease granted after only 16 months of ownership is testament to the quality of the project,” AIC MD Aaron Colleran said.

Investor interest is obvious – the price of the orange metal is up 32% YoY, largely because Chinese smelter output was scaled back earlier in the year.

In the meantime, the costs of staring new mines is too high for most companies to simply just start digging up copper, which fun fact, is driving M&A activity – most noteworthy of which is BHP’s recent run at Anglo American.

The permit AIC won today allows the company to “advance surface works in preparation for mining” and solidify an idea on project delivery timelines.

AIC Mines says Jericho, once up and running, will employ 150 builders over 2 years and maintain 100 permanent employees when in production. If that sounds like a government press release to you, we’re on the same page.

Presumably the company is banking on a recovery in the number of skilled workers in both fields (which possibly isn’t too unrealistic, to be fair.)

Given the project is at least over 2 years away from kicking off proper, investors should note the company isn’t on the cusp of shipping out copper ore to the world.

However, AIC Mines has full-fledged plans – Jericho will allow an expansion of the underground Eloise mine already on the company’s books which it acquired with a $40M cap raise back in 2021, when the world was in turmoil.

“The world needs more copper as we build the infrastructure to transition away from fossil fuels. AIC Mines is focused on delivering into that demand,” Colleran added on Friday.

“Queensland is a great place to be operating – it has the copper, the mining infrastructure and the skilled labour force to help fill what is expected to be an insatiable global appetite for copper.”

The company is being rational on all fronts – but will copper prices stay this high through the 2Y+ path to production?

A1M shares last traded at 57.5cps.

A1M by the numbers
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