HomeBase MetalsWorld copper output keeps rising

World copper output keeps rising

As it comes from
the mine, copper, like
other mined metals,
is quite impure
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 July 2008 – World copper mine production rose by 26% to 15.4 million tonnes in the 10 years to 2007, and international mine capacity increased by more than 37% to 17.9 million tonnes over the same period.

Quoting the Lisbon-based International Copper Study Group (ICSG) from here, Reuters said: “the mine capacity utilisation rate averaged 91% during the period, although the rate fell sharply during the second half, and averaged only 87% in 2006-2007.” According to the ICSG, this was as a result of lower head grades, labour unrest, equipment and utility shortages, and operational failures.

It added that mine production had grown by an average of 1.7% per year in 2006 and 2007 compared with an average annual growth of 3 % during the preceding eight years.

The ICSG release revealed that world refined production had risen by 28.5% to 18.1 million tonnes in the 10 years to 2007. Within that total, primary refined production had risen by 28% to 15.3million tonnes in the 10 years to 2007, and secondary refined production had increased 31% to 2.8 million tonnes.

“During this 10-year period, China’s annual refined production nearly tripled, increasing by 2.4 million tonnes to around 3.5 million tonnes,” said the ICSG.

It added that significant increases had also occurred in Chile, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, the Russian Federation and Zambia. Together they had added more than 1.7 million tonnes to world refined production.

“Annual refined copper usage increased by 34% during the 10-year period from 13.5 million tonnes to 18.1 million tonnes – an annual growth rate of 3.4%,” the ICSG added.

“Growth has been driven by China, where usage over the 10-year period increased by around 3.5 million tonnes – a rise of 250%. The annual growth rate over the period, excluding China, was only 1%,” said the ICSG

Total world copper stocks rose from 1998 to a peak at 2.05 million tonnes in 2002. Stocks began to decline in 2003, and by the end of 2007 had fallen by around 1 million tonnes.