The world’s copper production growth rate is estimated to increase by 3pc per year and by 2026, the output may reach 26mn mt levels, according to Australia’s department of industry, science, energy, and research (DISER).
Chile and Peru will remain the biggest global copper producers, with an estimated share of 25pc and 12pc respectively, in the next five years. Forecasts for Peru may change upwards once Anglo American’s Quellaveco mine becomes operational next year. The facility’s expected annual capacity is 300,000mt.
Most new projects lack the scale of current large units like the Escondida mine that produced 1.2mn mt in 2020. Challenges that copper producers face right now are ore throughput, grade quality, and rising production costs that hamper increasing output, the report noted. It concluded that environmental and social responsibility are also likely to impact near-term copper production in the regions.
In China, refined copper production is estimated to increase by 6pc in 2021 to 9.86mn mt, according to BGRIMM Lilan Consulting. Annual demand for the year is likely to climb by 3.3pc. The forecasted refined copper output also includes a 5pc increase in smelter output, translating to 7.18mn mt in 2021.
Copper scrap shipments into China are likely to increase by 40pc at 1.32mn mt this year from 2020, while copper concentrate imports may grow by 7pc with Peru, Ecuador, the United States, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) increasing export volumes to the country.
Iran too is ramping up its production of the red metal with a 5.31pc increase in copper concentrate at 108,367mt in the first month of FY 2021 (period ended April 2020). Copper cathode production climbed 37pc in the same month under review at 24,616mt, according to Iran’s mines and mining industries’ development and renovation data.