Copper has been an extremely important raw material for mankind for more than 10000 years. Due to its durability, good workability and excellent electrical conductivity as well as good thermal conductivity, copper is a metal that is urgently needed in numerous industries.
Demand for copper has been growing steadily for years. From the automotive industry, to plumbing and heating technology, to electrical engineering and renewable energies, there are countless areas of application in which copper is indispensable.
For 2022, the experts again forecast an increase in copper demand of around 2.4 percent. However, many copper mines and mining operations were also affected by the Corona pandemic.
Nevertheless, the future of the industrial metal looks good, making copper producers an exciting investment opportunity for investors. The focus here is primarily on the largest producers.
The four largest copper producers worldwide
The market leader among copper producers is still the Chilean mining group Codelco. Although Codelco has had to give up market share to other major competitors in recent years, the raw material producer is still the undisputed leader among the copper giants with an annual production volume of 1.73 million tons of copper.
Glencore was also among the global players in the copper market, with a production volume of 1.258 million tons of copper in 2020. However, the Swiss raw materials giant has had to report declines in copper production in recent years.
Meanwhile, the American raw material producer Freeport-McMoRan was able to keep its production volume stable at around 1.178 million tons. In addition to copper, Freeport-McMoRan specializes mainly in gold production and operates primarily in Chile and Peru.
The BHP Group has also been one of the world’s leading copper producers for many years. In 2020, the British-Australian raw materials giant produced a total of 1.1 million tons of copper. Compared to the previous year, however, BHP’s copper output was down by around 5 percent.
Commodity giants with production increases
The commodity giants are of interest to investors primarily because of their diverse businesses in the commodities market. Possible declines in production can easily be compensated for by steadily growing demand and the associated price increases.
In addition, the major producers have not focused exclusively on the industrial metal copper and produce various other important raw materials. However, some of the major commodity giants were also able to increase their copper production.
For example, copper production at Anglo American, the multi-national mining group, was around 4 percent up on the previous year. The Canadian mining group First Quantum even managed to increase its copper production by 11 percent compared to the previous year.
A further increase in demand for copper is forecast for the current year. Meanwhile, forecasts for the copper price do not see any price increases in 2022. However, experts expect the copper price to rise again by 2025.