Global copper mine production dropped by 1pc to 15mn mt from 15.2mn mt while refined copper output rose by 1.2pc to 18.1mn mt from 17.9mmn mt in the first nine months of the year on an annual basis, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).
Copper concentrate production fell by 0.8pc while solvent extraction-electrowinning decreased by 1.5pc in the first nine months, with major impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic seen in April and May wherein mine production declined by 3.5pc.
In Peru, production decreased by 16.5pc in January-September due to the pandemic as well as other operational setbacks. When lockdown measures eased in July, production was short by 2pc but fell significantly again in August and September when it declined by 12.5pc. Other major copper mine producing countries like the US, Mexico, and Australia also witnessed a significant decline in output in the same period.
Chile’s production in the first half of the year was up by 2.5pc, after which it dropped by 3.7pc in the third quarter over the same period in 2019, ICSG noted. Indonesia saw a 23pc increase in production during the first nine months of this year.
Refined copper production
Production of primary refined copper increased by 2.5pc to 15.2mn mt from 14.8mn mt while secondary production declined by 4.5pc to 2.9mn mt from 3mn mt in January-September 2020 from the same period in 2019.
Chile’s refined copper output rose by 6pc in January-September, with the country’s refined cathode production rising by 35pc, compared to the same period last year. The output from the Democratic Republic of Congo grew by 5.5pc and was up by 20pc in Zambia, as Africa recovered from operation issues.
India’s refined copper output fell by 20pc while the US’ production decreased by 14pc in the first nine months of the year from the same 2019 timeframe. On the other hand, refined copper output in Japan increased by 5pc.
From a usage standpoint, global refined copper usage increased by 1.5pc to 18.5mn mt in January-September compared to 18.2mn mt in the same months in 2019. Usage excluding China fell by 10pc across the world with consumption dropping by 17pc in Japan, 12pc in the EU, 5pc in the US, and 13pc in Asia. However, China’s usage increased by 13pc offsetting the decline in other countries.