Copper prices have climbed to a new all-time high, currently at $10,466.00 per ton. Since the global economy came to a halt in April 2020, copper prices have nearly doubled. This year alone, prices have risen another 8%, which shows, for one thing, that demand for copper remains strong. Copper is also known as doctor copper because copper is an indicator of the growth of the global economy. Everything that has to do with electronics contains copper.
Good copper demand can be seen as a good sign for the global economy, only too bad when at the same time the world’s largest copper producer, Chile, reports its lowest production in 11 years.
Chilean production fell by 15% in January compared to December. Chile did not specify the exact reasons for the drop.
But this news underlines once again that the world needs new copper mines if it is to continue its push towards digitalization and green energy. Also due to the fact that current copper mines have been in operation for a very long time.
The world’s current largest copper mine, the Escondida copper mine in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, has been in operation since 1990. Stakeholders of the mine are Rio Tinto (30%), BHP (57.5%), and Japan Escondida (12.5%). The mine produces about 1,156k tons of copper.
The world’s second-largest copper mine, the Collahuasi Mine in Chile has been in operation since 1999. Currently, the mine produces about 629k tons of copper per year. The shareholders are Anglo American plc (44%), Glencore (44%), and Japan Collahuasi Resources B.V. (12%).
The third-largest copper mine with an output of 445,000 tons is the Morenci Copper Mine in Arizona, United States. Copper is said to have been mined for the first time in 1872. The current owners of the mine are Freeport-McMoRan and Sumitomo.
In addition, virtually all base metals are currently experiencing a real price upswing. The reason for this is the situation in Ukraine. The fighting between Russia and Ukraine is now entering its second week, even though a short-term ceasefire seems likely. Tensions are leading to supply chain concerns in the markets. This in turn leads to panic and stock buying, which pushes metal prices up.