Copper mine production fell by 2.2pc globally through the first five months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

 

ICSG reported that world mine production declined to 8.06mn mt in the first five months of the year from 8.24mn mt between January and May 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic also caused mine production to plummet by 5.8pc in May, as mines suspended operations. In April, the pandemic caused global mine output to fall by 4.5pc, according to ICSG.

 

Mine production in Peru, the largest copper mining nation in the world, was significantly impacted in the first five months of the year, falling by 23pc in from January through May, and by 33pc and 41pc in April and May, respectively. ICSG did not disclose the exact volumes affected.

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Indonesia were among the few countries where copper production increased, with the former reporting a 5.5pc rise and the latter an 8pc increase.

 

Refined copper output rises, copper usage falls

ICSG indicated that global refined copper production saw a slight uptick in the first five months of 2020, rising by 0.5pc, led by refined copper production in Chile, another big copper-producing nation, which increased by 12pc. However, global refined copper production from scrap fell by 6pc during the same period, ICSG noted without disclosing the volumes. 

 

In China, refined copper output fell because of COVID-19-related shutdowns, oversupply in the sulfuric market, low imports of raw material, and tight domestic scrap supply. Refined copper production also fell by 28pc in India because Birla Copper had suspended its operations, ICSG noted.

 

Global apparent copper usage also declined by 2pc in the first five months of 2020, even though apparent consumption in China increased by 3.5pc from higher copper imports. Without the increase in China, ICSG estimated apparent copper consumption to have declined by 8pc, with usage falling by 9pc in both the EU Japan, by 8pc in the US, and by 7.5pc in Asia, excluding China.

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