Copper is a metal essential to construction, manufacturing industrial machinery and to the green energy transition — and demand is increasing worldwide.
The copper price broke an all time record intraday high above $11,000 this year on the back of historically low global inventories.
Mining Intelligence has compiled a list of the world’s top 10 biggest copper mines based on 2021 figures, where production will play a part in setting prices for years to come.
Owned by the world's biggest copper miner and operating in the world's biggest copper producing country, Chile’s Escondida remains by far the top producer in the world, again surpassing the one-million-tonne mark.
Collahuasi, also in Chile and jointly owned by Anglo American and Glencore is in second place, with 630 kilotonnes (Kt) grading 0.81% Cu produced in 2021.
Indonesia's Grasberg operations, owned by Inalum, come in third, churning out 606 kt grading 1.07% Cu during the year.
4. El Teniente
Back in Chile, Codelco's El Teniente produced 459.8 kt of copper grading 0.83% in 2021.
A joint venture between BHP and Glencore, Peru's Antamina mine is in fifth place, producing 429.6 kts grading 0.91% Cu.
In Mexico, Southern Copper's Buenavista mine churned out in 2021 422.8 kt grading 0.32% Cu.
7. Cerro Verde
Cerro Verde in Peru, owned Freeport Mc-MoRan is in seventh place, producing 402.3 Kt in 2021, grading 0.36% Cu.
Freeport Mc-MoRan's majority owned Morenci mine in Arizona is the biggest copper mine in the United States, and no. 8 in the world, churning out 397.3 kt grading 0.29% Cu.
9. KGHM Polska Miedz
Poland's national KGHM Polska Miedz Mines are in ninth place, producing 391.2 kt during 2021.
10. Cobre Panama
Rounding out the list is First Quantum Minerals' Cobre Panama mine in Panama, which produced 331 kt grading 0.37% Cu for the year.
Download the Mining Intelligence data here.