Lisbon, Portugal — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 July 2008 – Global copper mine production capacity is expected to expand by 5.2% a year in the four years to 2012, according to the International Copper Study Group.
Bloomberg News quotes the study group – which is based in the Portuguese capital – as saying that by 2012, mines around the world will be producing 23 million metric tonnes of copper – an increase of 17.9 million tonnes above last year. South America and Africa will account for more than 40% of the capacity gain, it added.
The group statement went on to say that of the total increase, copper concentrate capacity was expected to rise 3.5% a year to 16.9 million tons in 2012.
The price of the metal has quadrupled in the past five years as mining companies struggled to keep up with increasing demand from China and other emerging economies. Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange reached a record US$8.880 a ton on April 17, and is now trading up 0.4% at US$8,540 a metric ton in Shanghai.
The group estimates world refining capacity will reach 25.6 million tonnes in 2012, up from 21.5 million tonnes in 2007, with China and Congo contributing about half of the rise. Smelter capacity is expected rise by an average 2.4% a year to 18.7 million tons by 2012.
“Primarily due to several project expansions and start-ups in China, the smelter growth rate during the first 3 years averages 3.1% a year, and is projected to match the concentrate growth rate over the same period,” the group said. “The situation will be reversed from 2010 when significant new concentrate capacity comes on stream.”