Output in the industry – around 16 million tonnes of concentrate per annum – have been largely static for a number of years, but vast new supplies were supposed to come on stream next year and in 2014.
News out today from world number one copper producer Chile indicates the promised production may not materialize after all.
La Tercera reports London-listed Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) has become the latest copper miner to shelve expansion plans.
The £13bn company cites a 20% rise in costs, specifically energy costs, as reasons for ditching its Antucoya project which was supposed to have entered production in 2014. The final bill for Antucoya ballooned to $1.7 billion.
Antucoya was part of a $20 billion portfolio of projects the company had planned to the end of this decade.
Antofagasta's announcement brings to a whopping $17 billion the value of projects that have been cancelled in the South American nation.
Copper is currently trading at around of $7,800 a tonne ($3.54 per pound) – down more than 6% since the start of the fourth quarter.