FOCUS: Soaring demand, limited supply add to challenges for US copper mines

A refrain heard over and over again during Fastmarkets’ virtual Copper Seminar earlier this month was that copper demand is accelerating globally while mining supply remains short.

“According to our estimates, the demand for copper - primarily driven by the transition to low-carbon energy, technologies and electrification - will go from just under 30 million tonnes [per year] today to about 60 million tpy by 2050,” Kunal Sinha, global commercial lead at Glencore Recycling, said during a scrap-focused panel at the virtual Fastmarkets Copper Seminar on March 12.
“The mining project’s pipeline is at super-cycle lows right now,” Sinha said.
And with copper demand expected to nearly double by 2050, the gap between demand and supply was likely to widen.
The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) has estimated that the global refined copper market showed a deficit of almost 560,000 tonnes in 2020, with mine production flat, output of refined material rising by 1.5% and apparent refined usage up by 2.2%.

The global deficit between refined copper demand and supply was 157,000 tonnes in 2017,...

Published

Rijuta Dey Bera

March 29, 2021

16:34 GMT

New York