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Global copper 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 870 million metric tons as of 2020. Meanwhile, the total global copper production from mines amounted to an estimated 20 million metric tons in 2020.

Where is copper produced?

The major copper producing countries include Chile, Peru, and China. Chile produces more than 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 2020. The second-largest copper producer worldwide, with approximately 1.26 million metric tons in 2020, was Swiss-Anglo mining company Glencore. Other top mining companies Freeport McMoRan and BHP closely follow in copper production.

Economic dynamics of the copper industry

Global copper consumption is steadily increasing, and currently stands at some 24.99 million metric tons. Forecasts for global copper demand show the same trend. Copper prices have remained relatively stable over the last decade (on an annual average price basis), reaching a record high in 2011. To meet these developments, the use of copper scrap for recycling purposes is now relatively high. Global production of refined secondary copper stood at approximately 3.9 million metric tons as of 2020.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Copper industry worldwide".


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