In this article, we discuss the top 15 copper-producing countries in the world. To skip the detailed analysis of the copper industry, go directly to the Top 5 Copper Producing Countries in The World.
Copper is one of the most commonly used and important metals in the world. According to Data Bridge Market Research, the global copper market size was around $304.79 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $453.756 billion in 2029 at a CAGR of 5.1%. China is the world’s largest consumer of refined copper in the world. It consumed 52% of the global copper volume in 2021.
Like most industries, copper was also significantly affected by the pandemic. Compared to 2019, copper mining experienced a 2.9% decline in 2020, due to labor shortages, supply constraints, and mine closures. However, due to high demand paired with supply constraints, the copper market boomed in 2021 and crossed $10,000 per metric tonne in May 2021. The metal reached its peak at the end of March 2022, to $10230.89, and dropped substantially to $7651 at the end of October. The decline in prices came due to weaker demand from China since April 2022.
In 2021, $88.6 billion worth of copper was exported from 25 countries across the globe, representing a 52.1% increase on a YoY basis. Chile was the leader with $26.7 billion worth of exports, representing approximately 30% of all the exported copper ore.
Copper has always had a high demand for electronics due to its malleability and high conductivity. Moreover, the demand for copper is expected to increase as the world moves towards renewable energy sources and the electrification of vehicles. According to International Energy Agency, the global copper demand could double by 2040.
Top Copper-Producing Companies
The Chilean government-owned company Codelco was the world’s largest copper-producing company with 1.78 million metric tonnes of copper produced in 2021. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) came in second to the Chilean company after producing 1.21 million metric tonnes. BHP Group Limited (NYSE:BHP), Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE), Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK), and Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) are some of the other notable names in the copper mining industry.
In this article, we selected the 15 countries that produced the most amount of copper in 2021. We arranged them in ascending order of their production in 2021. Furthermore, we also mentioned the copper reserves and the future outlook of copper production in these countries.
Production in 2021: 726,379 metric tonnes
Copper is the backbone of the Zambian economy and accounts for 75% of Zambia’s total export earnings. Zambia produced a record high of 800,192.27 metric tonnes of copper in 2020, which declined by 4.5% to 726,379.19 metric tonnes in 2021. The Zambian Mopani Copper Mines produce the majority of the country’s copper and are the most significant copper deposit in Africa, producing approximately 88,000 metric tonnes of copper in 2021. Lumwana mine is another important mine in Zambia and is owned by Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD).
In 2021, Zambia exported $8.44 billion worth of copper in 2021. According to the UK investment firm SP Angel, the new Zambian president Hakainde Hichilema is focusing on increasing investments in the country and wants to triple the country’s copper output over the next decade.
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