The response of US copper companies to changing market conditions

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This paper is a study of the response by the US copper companies to the changing market conditions of the period 1970–1988. The analysis of past and current behaviour is based on the long-run strategies that the copper industry must use to adjust to periodical cyclical volatility instead of a one time reaction to a particular structural change in the market. This need to adjust to cyclical volatility, whatever the cause, is the reason behind observed behaviour strategies. Changes in mine ownership and operation are detailed, and case studies of AMAX, Anaconda, ASARCO, Cyprus, Duval, Kennecott, Newmont, and Phelps Dodge are discussed. The results show that the primary change in the dominant behavioural strategy of the industry is a movement to cost efficient, copper specializing companies at the expense of the more broadly based mineral companies.

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© 1989 Elsevier Ltd. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0301-4207(89)90006-8

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