Global secondary refined copper output (production from scrap) increased by 3pc to 1.3mn mt from January-April against 1.26mn mt in the same period last year, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) reported.
The bulk of secondary refined copper output came from China, ICSG noted, with the overall refined copper production growth in the nation estimated at 8pc in the first four months of the year. Global refined copper production from primary sources also increased by 4.5pc to 6.88mn mt in the January-April period from 6.57mn mt during the same timeframe in 2020.
The overall improvement in global refined production was also attributed to a 15pc growth in output in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a 25pc jump in Zambia’s copper production due to a ramp-up in the countries’ smelting capacities.
Smelter upgrades also resulted in a 15pc increase in Chilean refined copper production using electrolytic processes. However, the growth was offset by a 16pc decline in electrowinning because of which, the South American country’s overall refined copper production fell by 8pc in the January-April period.
Indonesia a frontrunner in mine output
Global copper mining output increased by 4pc to 6.8mn mt in the first four months of the year against 6.5mn mt in the same prior-year period on an 80pc growth in mine production in Indonesia where the Grasberg mine ramped up its output.
Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, continued to trend down in the first four months of 2021, declining by 2pc despite a 3pc growth in its concentrate output. ICSG noted that the decline was led by a 16pc drop in the country’s solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) output.
Global copper usage increased by 4.5pc to 8.1mn mt from January-April up from 7.7mn mt in the same period last year. Here too, the trend was led by a 9pc growth in Chinese consumption, though the pattern remained unchanged across the world ex-China compared to the same period in 2020.