Copper output from the world’s top 10 mining companies dropped by 0.2pc to 11.76mn mt last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are expected to increase production by 3.8pc to 12.2mn mt in 2021.

 

The figures released by analytics firm Global Data, however, indicated that six of the ten companies reported an increase in production in 2020.

 

Global Data noted that Glencore, Antofagasta, BHP, and Freeport-McMoRan reported a 10pc drop in copper production in 2020 compared to the previous year. On the other hand, Grupo Mexico, KGHM Polska, Codelco, Anglo American, Jiangxi Copper, and First Quantum reported a similar percentage increase in output over the same period.

 

Codelco managed to achieve a 1.2pc production growth in 2020  after the company implemented a four-phase plan as a part of its COVID-19 measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees while not affecting production at its copper mines.

 

Glencore’s copper production dropped by 8.2pc followed by Antofagasta with a 4.7pc drop, BHP where production declined by 3.9pc, and Freeport-McMoRan which reported a 1.7pc production fall in 2020 against 2019.

 

In 2021, Freeport is expected to lead the growth in copper production. The company recently lifted its 2021 guidance to 1.72mn mt for the year, 18.5pc more than its 2020 production. The new guidance is driven by the commencement of its expanded Grassberg mine in Indonesia. 

 

First Quantum expects a 9.1pc growth, while Jiangxi has forecast a 5.3pc increase in copper output this year. The growth in copper production will also be supported by Escondida, Collahusi, El Teniente, Cerro Verde, Buenavista, and Antamina mines.

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