Deutsche Bank recently suggested that based on the continued strength of the US dollar vs the Euro and the Pound, the European mining sector is headed for a 20% drop. Copper has fallen 9% from its peak in Q1 2016, the USD has grown by more than 2%, and the European market has overperformed by 30%.
Once the territory of science-fiction movies, recent large-scale adoption of automated heavy equipment is allowing mines to greatly reduce their labor costs. Trucks, loaders, boring and drilling machines and more are now available with remote or semi-autonomous capacity. Other upcoming automation advances, such as fully-automated long-haul trains (which are now being tested), will continue to expand the range of tasks that require few or no workers to be involved.