Salvage firm hails copper bounty.
A SALVAGE specialist was celebrating yesterday after it said its latest bounty contained "very high grade" copper.
London-based SubSea Resources said tests showed the copper was 99.9% pure and could be sold at "a very small discount" to the price on the open market.
The 5,500-tonne cargo - which has been lying 1,000 metres below sea-level since the Francois Vieljeux sank off the north coast of Spain nearly 30 years ago - has a net salvage value of $30m (pounds 15.8m).
Shares in SubSea lifted 4% yesterday and now stand 58% higher than they did just over a month ago.
The Francois Vieljeux sank with the loss of 23 lives on Valentine's Day 1979 in a severe storm as it sailed from Tanzania to Rotterdam and Hamburg.
SubSea won the Project Celia recovery contract from insurer Lloyd's of London in 2004 and now aims to salvage 80% of the cargo.
Yesterday, SubSea said that analysis of a 12-tonne sample of copper lifted on August 7 showed the metal was "of a very high grade and is 99.9% pure".
The firm added that it would not sell any copper until at least 500 tonnes have been recovered, but it may wait until the whole cargo has been secured before going to market.