While the red metal is currently trading north of $10,000/t, Newcrest acquired a 70% interest in the operating Red Chris copper-gold mine in British Colombia more than two years ago for $806.5 million.
Red Chris had cost $C661 million when brought into production mid last decade, while a maiden resource estimate by Newcrest in March totalled nearly 1 billion tonnes grading 0.41 grams per tonne gold and 0.38% copper.
Rio's $26.5 million foray this week into Western Copper and Gold (for an 8% stake in an undeveloped asset), sees it getting involved in Yukon-located resources with grades well under half that - albeit the tonnages are much larger (and the expected capex!).
However, the overarching point is the copper price in March 2019 when Newcrest announced its arrival at Red Chris was about US$6400/t.
Earlier, in late 2017, Copper Mountain unveiled the deal to buy the Cloncurry copper project in Queensland for $A93 million with the takeover of Altona Mining.
At the time Cloncurry was estimated to have contained copper resources of more than 1.7 million tonnes, with Copper Mountain also acquiring all the work involved in a definitive feasibility study that had been completed that year.
The copper price in November 2017 was about $6900/t.
Then there was OZ, which in August 2016 acquired a 70% stake in "Australia's largest undeveloped copper nickel deposit" for staged spending of $A33 million as part of a deal with junior Cassini Resources.
The copper price at that time was about $4800/t.