Canadian copper mine suffers ransomware attack, shuts down mills

A major Canadian copper mine suffered a ransomware attack on Tuesday, forcing the company to switch to manual processes and shut down mills.

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation produces approximately 100 million pounds of copper equivalent on average per year from its Copper Mountain Mine in southern British Columbia. The company said in a press release on Thursday that it had implemented several protocols, including isolating operations, after discovering an attack on its IT systems at both its corporate office and the mine itself.

"The Company’s external and internal IT teams are continuing to assess risks and are actively establishing additional safeguards to mitigate any further risk to the Company. Copper Mountain is investigating the source of the attack and is in contact with the relevant authorities," they wrote.

"There have been no safety or environmental incidents as a result of the attack. The Company’s main priority is to continue to ensure safe operations and limit operational and financial impacts."

Ransomware attacks on industrial systems have been frequent in 2022, according to data collected by security company Dragos.

According to Dragos data, 86 attacks targeted systems at manufacturing organizations, especially related to metal products and the automotive industry, among others. Dragos noted that the LockBit ransomware gang has been the only group who has gone after the mining and water treatment sectors.

At the end of October, the second largest copper producer in the world similarly dealt with a cyberattack that forced it to shut off several IT systems.

German firm Aurubis said the company faced a cyberattack that “was apparently part of a larger attack on the metals and mining industry.”

In August, environmental hacking group Guacamaya leaked troves of documents stolen from five public and private mining companies and several environmental agencies in Colombia and Guatemala. Another 4 TB of data was leaked from a Swiss mining company operating in Guatemala in March. 

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.