Global copper mine production to grow 3.5% annually — report

Copper smelter (Image courtesy of KGHM)

According to a recent report published by Fitch Solutions, global copper production will see steady growth over the next few years. Fitch forecasts that annual production is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 3.5% from 2019 to 2028, with volume climbing from 21.4mt to 28.7mt during this period.

In Chile, the world’s top copper producer, production was originally estimated to grow by 4.0% year-on-year due to promising outlook for the nation’s major mines as well as President Sebastián Piñera’s business-friendly policies.

However, the 2019 growth forecast was later revised down to 1.75% as a result of lower ore grades, weather impacts and the ongoing strike at Chuquicamata, leading to lackluster production so far this year. It is expected that things will pick up in H2 2019 on higher production from major operations such as Candelaria, Caserones and Sierra Gorda.

Elsewhere, production growth in China is expected to lag compared to previous years, as low copper grades render a number of mines unprofitable. Chinese firms will continue to prioritize copper projects overseas for their low-cost nature.

Other notable markets mentioned in the report include Peru, USA and Congo, each with solid growth forecasts.

More copper projects are expected to come online within the next few years, with Australia and Canada set to dominate these new projects, the report shows.