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The world’s 10 largest copper expansion projects

Global copper supply disruptions increased in the second quarter of 2013 as a result of the Bingham Canyon slide and the closure at Freemont’s Grasberg.

But despite these and other disruptions, 2013 supply growth remains positive and is expected to remain so throughout 2013, with surplus widening in 2014.

A study by Macquarie Research expects global copper mine supply growth in 2014 to approach 7% YoY, the highest rate of supply growth in a decade.

The 10 fastest growing copper projects alone are expected to deliver up to 1Mt of additional copper in 2014. Half of these are greenfield.

Here are the 10 (green text indicates greenfield):


10. Salobo (Vale; Pará, Brazil)

Operating since June, 2012, production capacity is at roughly 100 kt of copper concentrates per year.


9. Escondida (BHP; Antofagasta, Chile)

Escondida is located 3,100 metres above sea level, with a 2012 output of 1.076 Mt of copper.


8. Bisha (Nevsun Resources; Gash-Barka, Eritrea)

Bisha boasts 29.3 Mt of total proven and probable reserves.


7. Sierra Gorda (KGHM International; Atacama, Chile)

Estimated production from current reserves average 219 kt of copper.


6. Toromocho (Chinalco, Junin, Peru)

Toromocho contains a reserve of 1.526 Mt of ore with an average grade of copper of 0.48%.


5. Buenavista (Southern Copper; Sonora, Mexico)

Buenavista represents one of the largest copper reserves in Mexico (and the world) with estimated reserves of 36 Mt of total ore grading 0.69% for copper.


4. Grasberg (Freeport-McMoRan; Papua, Indonesia)

Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold (NYSE: FCX) Indonesia Grasberg

The third largest copper mine in the world, Grasberg is expected to deliver over 100 kt of copper contained in concentrate.


3. Oyu Tolgoi (Rio Tinto; Khanbogd, Mongolia)

The Oyu Tolgoi giant is expected to account for up to 30% of Mongolia’s GDP and copper production is expected to reach 450 kt per year.


2. Collahuasi (Anglo American; Atacama, Chile)

Collahuasi represents one of the largest copper reserves  in Chile, and in the world, with estimated reserves of 3.93 billion tonnes of ore grading 0.66% for copper.


1. Minas Ministro Hales (Codelco; Antofagasta, Chile)

Mina Ministro Hales is expected to deliver an additional 170 kt of copper contained in concentrate from 2013 to 2014 YoY.



Sources: Wood Mackenzie; Macquarie Research; YouTube;; the website of each of the 10 named companies: Vale, BHP, Nevsun, Quadra FNX, Chinalco, Southern Copper, Freeport McMoRan, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Codelco