Refined copper consumption around the world increased by 2.2pc to 24.97mn mt in 2020 from 24.42mn mt in the previous year according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).
Global consumption was significantly impacted ex-China, declining by around 10pc. However, China’s apparent consumption during the year increased by 13pc due to a 1.2mn mt increase in refined copper imports, thus balancing the deficit across the rest of the world, ICSG noted. As a result, at the end of 2020, the global copper market reported a deficit of around 560,000mt.
The group indicated in its latest report on Monday that global copper mining output was flat compared to 2019 as a 2pc decline of solvent extraction electrowinning in copper mines was offset by a slight increase in concentrate production, which rose by 0.4pc. Mine production in 2020 tallied at 20.51mn mt in 2020 against 20.52mn mt in the previous year.
Last year, mining production was led by an increase in output from mines where volumes had reduced last year along with production from new mines such as those in Panama and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
ICSG stated that world mine production, which had reduced by 3.5pc in April-May 2020 at the peak of COVID-19 related lockdowns, improved in the second half of the year. Still, output in Peru, which has the world’s largest copper resources, declined by 12.5pc last year compared to 2019.
Global refined copper production increased in 2020 to 24.41mn mt compared to 24mn mt in the previous year led by a 2.8pc increase in output from primary sources. Refined copper production from secondary sources like scrap, however decreased by 4.5pc during the year because of reduced copper supply in the first half of the year due to the COVID-19 related lockdowns.
Refined copper production from primary sources in Chile increased by 2.7pc in 2020 against 2019 after taking into account the temporary smelter shutdowns that caused a 7pc decline in electrowinning production. In China, refined copper production grew by 2.5pcand was up by 5pc in DRC and 35pc in Zambia.
India’s refined copper output fell by 20pc last year compared to 2019 because of the suspension at Birla Copper’s operations in March-May.