Friday, April 17, 2015

Copper’s top 10 – Countries and Companies

Copper’s top 10 – Countries and Companies
Thomson Reuters GFMS today released its Annual Copper survey – Copper 2015 – in which it predicts a continuing copper surplus and a 12% fall in average copper price for the year to $5975/tonne compared with 2014.  The findings and more data from the 88-page report will be covered in more detail in a following article, but here we will just take a brief look at the top 10 producing nations – which between them accounted for 80% of global copper supply last year, and the top 10 producing companies.
Top 10 copper producing nations 2014
Rank 2014CountryProduction (000t)
1.Chile5,745
2.China1,614
3.USA1,368
4.Peru1,339
5.Australia961
6.DR Congo905
7.Russia753
8.Zambia725
9.Canada688
10.Mexico522
Global Total18,270
Source:  Thomson Reuters, GFMS
As can be seen from the table, Chile remains far and away the world’s largest producer.  In comparison with 2013, the U.S. claimed the No. 3 spot with an 8.5% increase in output, thus moving ahead of Peru where estimated production also rose, but only by 1.4%.  The only other changes in the top 10 were that Russia moved up a place at the expense of Zambia and Mexico moved into 10th spot, replacing Indonesia where output fell due to export restrictions and some labour problems largely at the country’s largest mine – Freeport’s Grasberg.
Top 10 Copper producing companies 2014
Rank 2014CompanyProduction  (000t)
1.Codelco1,841
2.Freeport McMoran1,470
3.Glencore1,296
4.BHP Billiton1,203
5.Southern Copper665
6.Rio Tinto636
7.KGHM Polska Miedsz506
8.Anglo American504
9.Antofagasta455
10.First Quantum380
Attributable Production.    Source:  Thomson Reuters, GFMS
There was no change in the ranking order of the top 10 copper producing companies with production losses at some operations largely offset with new project production elsewhere.  Overall global new mined production rose around a modest 1.5% with some significant new big operations coming on stream, or ramping up – Codelco’s Hales, Turquoise Hill (51% owned by Rio Tinto)’s Oyu Tolgoi and Chinalco’s Toro Mocho mine in Peru being among the largest.  All of these are still ramping up to full production so should see further significant rises in output again this year.
But the production rises were mostly offset by declining grades at a number of aging copper mining operations, and some closures.  With the copper price likely to remain disappointing this year due to an anticipated continuing production surplus, the incentive for new project development remains muted, apart from those operations already in the pipeline while greenfields exploration activity will also tend to be depressed.  There are a couple of major new projects due on stream this year though – Southern Copper’s Buena Vista mine in Mexico and First Quantum’s Sentinel project in Zambia being the biggest.
A copy of the full 88-page Copper 2015 report, and other GFMS publications, may be requested by clicking on this link.
Sourced: Lawrence Williams of mineweb.com

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