Stones by zodiac signs

Which three countries are major producers of copper ore?

INN publishes a ranking of countries that produce the most copper. Russia is in 6th place there. In 2023, copper prices, like most commodities, were quite volatile due to weakening demand from China. Time will tell when the copper price will again reach the record levels recorded in the first half of 2022, but analysts are predicting a return to strong copper demand in 2024. “Although the price range is likely to expand more than previously predicted when important market-moving news emerges, the annual average may not differ significantly from the 2023 level, but an improving economic situation should lead to this value increasing in 2024.” , says Karen Norton, independent metals and mining consultant. According to the latest data from the USGS (United States Geological Survey), global copper production reached 2023 million tons in 22. Chile again won the title of the largest copper producer last year, but some of the other countries in the ranking may surprise you, writes prometall. Copper production in Chile decreased slightly compared to 2022, reaching 5 million tons, or about 23% of total global production of the red metal. Unsurprisingly, many of the world’s leading copper producers are active in the South American country, including Chilean state-owned Codelco, BHP, Anglo American, Glencore and Antofagasta. In 2022, production in Chile was at a 15-year low due to continued decline in rock quality, water shortages, and declining investment. However, according to forecasts by the American analytical organization S&P Global, copper production in Chile, due to the increase in production volumes from new mines, will reach a record level in 2025 of approximately 6 million tons. Production: 2,6 million tons Compared to 2022, copper production in Peru increased by 150 tons, despite anti-government protests and road blockades early last year. By the end of the year the situation had returned to normal, and Oscar Vera, the country’s minister of energy and mining, said the government was working to reduce the approval time for mining projects from two years to six months. Major copper mining operations in Peru include Anglo American’s Quellaveco mine and Southern Copper’s Tia Maria mine. Most of the country’s copper production is sent to China, with other major export destinations being Japan, South Korea and Germany. 3. Democratic Republic of Congo Production: 2,5 million tons Copper production in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) increased by 150 tonnes compared to 000 levels. One of the country’s large, actively developing copper assets is Kamoa-Kakula, a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining Group. The DRC has rapidly increased its copper production in recent years and now accounts for more than 11% of global copper production. Since the launch of a significant number of projects is being prepared, the DRC in the future is able to supplant Peru and take second place in the world in copper production. Production: 1,7 million tons In China, the world’s largest consumer of copper, production of this metal decreased by 240 tons compared to 000. To meet the demand for copper in the construction and transport sectors, the country relies on copper imports. Zijin Mining Group is a leading metals producer in China and owns the Zijinshan and Shuguang gold and copper mines. However, when it comes to refined copper production, China wins by a wide margin. In 2023, the country’s refined copper production amounted to 12 million tons. This is more than 44% of global refined copper production and six times higher than Chile, the next largest supplier of refined copper. Production: 1,1 million tons In the US, copper production fell 2023% in 10. Metal mining is mainly concentrated in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Michigan and Missouri. 17 of the 25 copper mines accounted for 99% of the country’s production of this metal. According to the USGS, the decline in U.S. copper production is due to a variety of reasons, from unplanned maintenance and depletion of copper in rock to weather events and geotechnical problems. The United States is also one of the top ten largest exporters of copper, mainly in the form of ores and concentrates, as well as refined copper. Production: 910 tons In 2023, Russia slightly reduced copper production compared to 936 tons a year earlier. One of the largest copper mining enterprises in Russia is the Udokan deposit in Siberia, which is currently owned by the Udokan Copper Company (formerly the Baikal Mining Company). The deposit made headlines in 2018 when it was revealed that the company was looking to raise US$1,25 billion to build a mining and smelting plant. In September 2023, its concentrator began producing copper concentrate. Production: 840 tons Indonesia’s copper production rose sharply from 734 tonnes in 000 to 2021 tonnes in 941. However, this figure fell by 000 tons last year. The country’s largest copper mine is Grasberg, located in the highlands of Central Papua province and owned by Freeport-McMoRan, a subsidiary of PT Freeport Indonesia. The company currently has mining rights until 2041, but Freeport is in negotiations with the Indonesian government to extend its mining rights beyond that period. Production: 810 tons Australia’s copper production remained essentially at 2022 levels. One of Australia’s largest copper operations is BHP’s Olympic Dam polymetallic mine in South Australia, which holds a strong position as the world’s fourth-largest copper deposit, although perhaps better known for its uranium. Also worth noting is the MountIsa complex in Queensland, managed by a subsidiary of Glencore. The combined annual production from the two copper mines in the MountIsa area reaches 6,5 million tons of ore. Production: 760 tons Zambia’s copper production fell by 10 tonnes last year, with a total decline of 000 tonnes from 2021. The country’s copper production is dominated by four mines, including Barrick Gold’s Lumwana and First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi. Mopani Copper Mines is another major copper producer in the country. The company was owned by a joint venture between Glencore and First Quantum, but in 2021 became fully owned by the Zambian government, which previously held a 10% stake. Production: 750 tons In Mexico, copper production volumes decreased by 4 tons compared to 000. One of the largest copper mines in Mexico is Grupo Mexico’s Buenavista del Cobre facility in the state of Sonora, which is by far the country’s leading copper producer. For 2022, the main copper producers in Russia are:

  • Norilsk Nickel,
  • UMMC,
  • Russian copper company.

All three companies, like manufacturers in other countries, follow a vertical integration strategy, that is, they control the entire supply chain from ore mining to the production of intermediate copper products (such as copper rod).


Chile, Peru and Congo lead in production volumes

The price of copper remains above $8 thousand per ton

China develops copper industry and moves to importing ore instead of finished metal

In 2023, China’s copper industry is rapidly expanding, changing the global flow of the metal needed for the global energy transition.

The rapid expansion of capacity is introducing new dynamics to a market that for 20 years has been largely determined by what buyers in China are willing to pay. The country will continue to import increasing amounts of copper, but mostly in the form of ore rather than refined metal.

Structure of copper imports as of November 2023


Production growth in Russia by 1,1% to 1 million tons

In 2022, copper production in Russia increased by 1,1% compared to 2021 and amounted to 1 million tons. This is evidenced by data from BusinesStat analysts. Their study was published in May 2023.

Experts pay attention to the resumption of growth in copper output in 2022. In 2018-2020 production increased and reached 1,04 million tons. In 2021, copper production decreased by 4,8% to 0,99 million tons due to a reduction in output at Norilsk Nickel enterprises; the reasons cited were the temporary stoppage of activities at the Oktyabrsky and Taimyrsky mines, the Norilsk Concentrating Plant, as well as the planned closure of the metallurgical workshop at the Kola MMC.

BusinesStat says that the key sales area for copper in Russia is export. In global exports of refined copper, Russia’s share at the end of 2022 was 10%, which makes the country a fairly large participant in the global market. Despite the tense foreign policy situation, the products of domestic non-ferrous metallurgy are still in demand abroad. At the same time, there are now prerequisites for a copper shortage on the world market. Thus, in the coming years, Russia’s role in supplying global industry with copper may increase.

Work on the development of copper deposits, as well as the development of new projects at existing mines, can also strengthen Russia’s position in the international market. In 2022, Kaz Minerals worked to develop the Baimskoye copper, gold and silver deposit in the Far East; Udokan Copper is developing the Udokan copper deposit; MMC Norilsk Nickel, which began work in 2022 to expand existing capacities and increase production. Norilsk Nickel also plans to build a plant in the Murmansk region, which will increase copper output by 40%. [1]

Copper belt in central Africa. Map

Copper belt in central Africa as of 2022

IEA expects copper demand to grow 2,7 times by 2040

Copper will play an important role in the global energy system, according to a column by USM group founder Alisher Usmanov on the World Economic Forum website.

“Copper is often called the ‘new gold’, the ‘new oil’ or even the ‘metal of the future’ due to its indispensable role in low-carbon economies and high-tech industries,” he writes.

In the article, Usmanov cited data from the International Energy Agency, according to which by 2040, demand for copper, nickel and graphite will dominate among minerals and metals used in clean energy technologies. By that time, demand for copper will increase by 2,7 times compared to 2020.


The share of copper exports from Russia is 3,3% of the world market

Share of Russian exports in raw materials markets (data for February 2022)

Prices exceed $10 thousand per ton

U.S. buyers are paying the world’s highest prices for copper in July 2021 as rising demand and logistics issues have pushed futures in New York ahead of contracts in London and Shanghai.

2020: Prices soar to $8000 per ton

In December 2020, the copper price exceeded $8000 per ton for the first time in more than seven years.

Copper’s strong rally is driven by a strong Chinese recovery scenario, a weak dollar and a green signal for reflation.

2019: Growth in copper exports from Russia to 702 thousand tons

2018: 20,7 million tons produced. Leader – Chile

In 2018, global production amounted to 20,7 million tons, which is 800 thousand tons more than in 2017.

Copper production by country in 2018

Large production capacities and reserves are concentrated in South America. Chile is in first place in terms of production and proven reserves, and by a wide margin.

Russia is in 10th place, having increased production by 10 thousand tons compared to 2017.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button