New York, USA — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 November 2010 – Some of the world’s top copper miners raised production by 4 % last quarter, a Reuters analysis based on earnings results so far shows, suggesting growth may fail to meet booming global demand.
The companies reported represent about one-tenth of global mined copper production. Codelco’ which accounts for around 11% of the world’s mined copper, has yet to report third-quarter results.
Slow to bring capacity back on line after 2008’s economic downturn, some of the largest copper producers turned more aggressive in the quarter, reopening idled mines and ramping up production in response to a China/developing world-led global economic recovery.
“People were paralysed in 2008-2009 when copper dropped below US$3 000/t. They deferred things just to see how the situation would turn out,” said metals analyst Edward Meir.
“In the last six months to a year, they have been reasonably reassured that the growth story, at least in the emerging markets, is still intact.
Senior base metals analyst with CPM Group in New York Catherine Virga agreed, but questioned the strength of the supply-side response. “Mines are going to continue to strive to bring improvements on the supply side, but it’s now a question of whether or not that’s going to be able to outpace demand,” Virga said.
Operational constraints and cutbacks initiated in 2009 are projected to constrain mine production to 16.2Mt in 2010, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said.
“Looking to 2011, increased economic activity is expected to boost end-user demand for the metal much faster than production, pushing the global market deeper into deficit of about
“The significant level of production disruptions from project delays, technical problems, and labour and political unrest that has become the norm in recent years, is expected to continue to reduce output,” the ICSG forecast.