ICSG: Copper mine production up 4.8% through May 2021

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While copper mine supply concerns have cropped up of late — as MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns explained recently — output during the first five months of the year rose by 4.8%, the International Copper Study Group reported Friday.

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Copper mine production

copper mine

Gary Whitton/Adobe Stock

Global copper mine production rose by 4.8% during the first five months of the year, including a 6.5% rise in concentrate production and a 2% decline in solvent extraction-electrowinning.

No. 1 copper producer Chile saw its output drop by 2% in the five-month period. Chilean concentrate production rose by 2%, while extraction-electrowinning fell 13%.

Meanwhile, Peru, the No. 2 copper producer, saw its output rise by 17% year over year. However, Peru’s copper mine production fell by 7% compared with the equivalent five-month period in 2019.

Elsewhere, Indonesia’s copper mine production surged by 72%, mainly due to ramp-up at the Grasberg mine.

Refined copper production up by 4%

Meanwhile, global refined copper production during the period rose by 4%, the ICSG reported.

China’s refined production rose by 7.5%, according to preliminary official data. Chile’s total refined copper production fell by 7%.

U.S. refined production increased by 13%.

In addition, global secondary refined production (from scrap) increased by 2%.

Copper price slides

After reaching an all-time high of over $10,700 per metric ton in May, the copper price has retreated since then.

The LME three-month copper price closed last week at $8,934 per metric ton.

The copper price has cooled significantly in recent weeks, even amid several supply-side concerns. One of those at BHP’s Escondida mine, the world’s largest copper mine, was resolved earlier this month when management and workers reportedly reached a tentative deal after the union had initially voted to reject the company’s latest contract offer.

Elsewhere in Chile, workers remain on strike at the Caserones mine operated by Minera Lumina Copper. As Burns noted, workers also went on strike at Codelco’s Andina copper mine.

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