World mine production for copper was down 0.4pc in the first nine months of 2019 according to the latest International Copper study Group (ICSG) data.
Growth in other countries’ mining production was offset by declines in major copper producing countries. Output from Indonesia decreased by 50pc because two major ore zones were in transition, while Chile produced 0.3pc less due to lower copper head grades and disruptions to its production earlier in the year.
After recording a growth of 13pc in 2018, copper production in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia declined by a combined 3pc because of temporary suspensions at the SX-EW mines, planned production reductions, and a few operational constraints.
Production from Australia, China, Mexico, Peru, and the US also declined due to smelter maintenance shutdowns and recovery percentages constrained output in 2018. Panama, the newest mining nation, saw the most growth in production through the first nine months of 2019.
Regionally, mine production increased 6pc in Oceania, 4pc in North America and 1.5pc in Latin America, but decreased 6.5pc in Asia, 2pc in Europe and 2pc in Africa.
Global copper refinery production through 2019 until September was stable with primary production consisting of electrolytic and electrowinning decreasing 0.4pc and secondary production from scrap increasing by 1.6pc compared with the same period last year.
Copper refining decreased by 30pc in Chile due to a combination of temporary smelter upgrade shutdowns, new environmental regulations, and a 5pc import duty on copper concentrate. Refined output fell by 35pc in Zambia on power supply interruptions, smelter outages, temporary shutdowns and a 5pc custom duty on copper concentrate imports since Jan 1 constraining smelter feed.
In India, copper production declined by 22pc after Vedanta’s Tuticorin smelter was shut down. Smelter maintenance shutdowns also resulted in decreased output from Japan, Peru, the US, and a few European countries.
China, Australia, Brazil, Iran, and Poland reported positive output.
Regionally, refined output is estimated to have increased 11pc in Oceania and 3.5pc in Asia, and decreased 8pc in Latin America, 9pc in Africa, 2.5pc in North America, and 2.5pc in Europe.
Global refined copper usage increased 0.3pc in September, led by China where it expanded 2.8pc due to higher refinery output despite a 12pc decline in refined copper imports. Demand also increased in the US, India, and Taiwan (China) while it decreased in the EU and Japan.
Excluding China, refined global copper usage fell 2pc. Overall, world copper refined copper balance until September 2019 indicated a 390,000mt deficit.