World copper mine production is expected to decline by 1.5pc while refined copper output is projected to rise by as much this year, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).
Global copper mining output is currently 700,000mt lower than what ICSG initially forecasted in October of last year, mainly because of COVID-19-related lockdowns, the organization stated.
Global copper mining production was down by 0.2pc in 2019, although it reflected operational issues, especially in Indonesia. ICSG nevertheless expects copper mining production to grow by 4.5pc next year if the virus remains under control and there aren’t additional lockdowns.
In October 2019, ICSG forecasted worldwide refined copper production would grow by 4pc this year, however, actual output dropped by 850,000mt before increasing by 1.5pc on an annual basis in 2020. Although COVID-19 has greatly impacted production levels in all countries this year, last year’s operational issues, which resulted in production being halted, offset this year’s disruption—hence the 1.5pc increase.
Secondary refined production is expected to decline by 5.5pc this year, while global electrowinning output is slated to fall by 3pc. However, global primary electrolytic refined copper output is forecasted to increase by 4.5pc in 2020.
ICSG reported that world (excluding China) copper demand is projected to drop by 9pc this year mainly due to declining demand from the US, Japan, India, and the EU. But rising copper demand from China is expected to offset the decrease from the aforementioned countries, ICSG added. Global copper usage will resultantly be flat this year, although ICSG suggested that global copper usage should rise by 1.1pc in 2021.