Global copper mining industry - statistics & facts
Copper is a base metal like nickel, zinc, aluminum, lead, among others. Copper is the most conductive non-precious metal, which makes it is indispensable for many industries. Over the past decade, the total global copper reserves have increased from 630 million metric tons in 2010 to 880 million metric tons as of 2021. Meanwhile, the total global copper production from mines amounted to an estimated 21 million metric tons in 2021.
Where is copper produced?
The leading copper producing countries include Chile, Peru, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Chile produces nearly one quarter of the world’s copper, and is also by far the country with the largest copper reserves. Escondida, located in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile and owned by the mining company BHP, is the world's largest copper mine based on its total copper reserves, its production capacity, as well as its actual copper output.
Global copper companies
Fittingly, the largest copper mining company worldwide based on production is the Chilean state-owned company Codelco. This company reported copper production figures of 1.73 million metric tons in 2021. The second-largest copper producer worldwide, with approximately 1.2 million metric tons in 2021, was U.S. mining company Freeport McMoRan. Other top mining companies Glencore and BHP closely follow in copper production.
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