Top 20 Copper Producing Countries in The World

In this article, we will be discussing the Top 20 Copper Producing Countries in The World. If you want to skip our detailed analysis of the global copper sector, along with all-share buyout proposal by BHP Group, go directly to the Top 5 Copper Producing Countries In The World.

Copper; the first metal manipulated by humans, still stands as one of the most important metals. From its use in mobile phones, laptops, homes, and automobiles, copper is the third most used metal in the world. According to USGS, an average US resident requires 12 pounds of copper each year to sustain their lifestyle. Furthermore, it is believed that this demand is going to continue to grow in years to come.

Research presented in Yahoo Finance shows that the global market for copper was $308.67 billion in 2023 and it is forecasted to grow to $504.93 billion by 2033, projecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.04% during the forecasted period. While the demand for copper is expected to increase with prices averaging around $8,602 in 2024 and $9,070 in 2025, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights, the production is having a hard time keeping up. The production levels from the existing copper mines are anticipated to decline over the remainder of decade.

The biggest increase in demand for copper is coming from the shift towards green economy. Technologies like EVs, solar panels, wind turbines and batteries require a lot more copper than the traditional fossil fuel-based technologies. Modern renewable energy systems use up to 12 times more copper than non-renewable energy systems, according to the Copper Alliance. A great example of this is usage of copper in EVs, that require four times more copper than regular cars. And with these energy transitions on the rise, the demand for copper is estimated to increase by almost 600% by the year 2030.

We can see that these high levels of demand for copper and shortages in supply is exactly the motivation behind BHP’s (NYSE:BHP) bid for Anglo American plc (LSE:AAL.L). Earlier this week on April 25, 2024, Anglo American plc (LSE:AAL.L) announced that it had received an all-share buyout proposal from BHP Group (NYSE:BHP). While Anglo has quite a few businesses ranging from diamonds to platinum, the biggest aim and prize for BHP is copper. “First and foremost” the proposed takeover is about copper, William Tankard, principal analyst of base metals at CRU Group, told CNN. BHP is the world’s second-biggest producer of mined copper, while Anglo American plc (LSE:AAL.L) is the sixth biggest, according to an Insider Monkey article.

Anglo has copper mines in Chile and Peru, countries in which BHP Group (NYSE:BHP) also has operations. This deal, if goes through, could end up creating the world’s biggest copper miner which would be able to produce around 10% of global copper output amounting to 2.6 million metric tons of copper a year, as given by Business Day. This would put BHP Group well ahead of Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX).

The $39 billion takeover bid, however, has been rejected by Anglo American, stating that the big significantly undervalued the firm and its future prospects. There is a high likelihood that BHP might push harder and make a return with a better offer given the stakes it sees in the company, and the copper mining. However, if that happens, it also makes it very probable that other market giants like Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE), Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), and Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) also come and join the race to the bid.

Thus, it can be seen from all that's discussed above, that copper is one of the most in-demand metals. And hence, the makers across the world are very keen on capitalizing on any opportunity that has a potential to open or expand hold on the copper production, as can be seen from GHP proposal to Anglo. Thus, let's now take a look at Top 20 Copper Producing Countries in the World.

Top 20 Copper Producing Countries in The World

An open pit mine, with heavy machinery extracting copper ore in the background.

Methodology

To create our list of Top 20 Copper Producing Countries In The World, we gathered data on the copper production levels for each country. Latest data available for each country has been sourced from credible sources including US Geological Survey and World Mining Data. The values have also been cross referenced from multiple platforms like NASDAQ, Insider Monkey, and Investing News Network. With the acquired data, we have listed the Top 20 Copper Producing Countries In The World in ascending order based on the production levels of copper per annum in each country.

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.

20. Spain

Copper Production in 2021: 138,060 metric tons

We are starting our list of Top 20 Copper Producing Countries In The World with Spain. Spain contributes 0.55% to global production, according to Mining Technology. Copper exports for Spain are expected to grow at CAGR of 2% between 2022 and 2026. One of the leading producers of copper in Spain is the First Quantum Minerals, producing 101,776 tons of copper in the first quarter of 2024, ending 31 March 2024. In 2022 Copper Ore was the 35th most imported product in Spain. Moreover, in January 2024, Spain exported Copper Ore worth $101.96 million and imported Copper Ore worth $230.84 million.

19. Uzbekistan

Copper Production in 2021: 148,500 metric tons

In 2022, Uzbekistan exported $4.17 million worth of Copper Ore, ranking as the 59th largest exporter of Copper Ore globally, according to OEC. During the same year, Copper Ore stood as the 221st most exported product from Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan ($204 million) and Azerbaijan ($10.3 million) emerged as the fastest-growing import markets for Copper Ore in Uzbekistan.

18. Myanmar 

Copper Production in 2021: 200,360 metric tons

The Letpadaung Copper Mine in Sagaing, Myanmar, held the title of the largest mine in the country, with an annual production of around 36.92 million tons, according to Global Data. Wanbao Mining Co Ltd owns the Letpadaung Copper Mine, which is scheduled to remain operational until 2051.

17. Mongolia  

Copper Production in 2021: 303,030 metric tons

Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia is one of the world's largest deposits of gold and copper, owned by Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO). Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO) is a British-Australian company, which is all about metals and mining. According to OEC, the country is one of the key copper exporters to China and exported 335,000 metric tons of copper to the country in the first quarter of the year 2022. Amidst the ongoing advancements in Mongolia's mining sector, the nation is poised to rank as the fifth-largest copper producer by 2030.

16. Iran 

Copper Production in 2021: 313,612 metric tons

Iran plans to invest $15 billion to expand its copper production over the next five years. Iran aims to raise its annual copper cathode production capacity from 280,000 tons currently to over one million tons. New explorations have commenced in South Khorasan province in eastern Iran, with similar efforts underway in other provinces.

Amir Hassan Zadeh, deputy for economic affairs of the governorate of Kerman said that “The future of the nation is tied to the copper industry.”

15. Panama

Copper Production in 2021: 331,000 metric tons

Cobre Panama is an open-pit copper mine situated in the Colon Province of Panama. The copper mine, developed with an estimated investment of £5.3 billion ($7 billion), began commercial production in September 2019. Business Insider reported that the mine was responsible for 1.5% of the world’s copper before it shut down. At full capacity the mine is said to produce whopping 320,000 tons of copper!

14. Brazil

Copper Production in 2021: 335,761 metric tons

Brazilian economy is strongly supported by its mining industry and is also the biggest reason for Brazil’s positive balance of trade. The Brazilian mining giant Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE), owns the largest mines in the country. The two largest mines Salobo Mine and Sossego Mine, both located in Para, are owned by Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE). In 2023, Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE) produced 66,800 metric tons of copper from its Sossego Mine, according to Reuters, while the Salobo Mine squeezed in a production of 136.88 thousand tons of copper in 2023.

13. Poland

Copper Production in 2021: 391,300 metric tons

Poland is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to electrolyte copper production. The country also holds impressive reserves of copper amounting to almost 36 million tons. In 2021, Poland exported copper worth $5.97 billion and was in included in the largest exporters of copper. The largest mine, owned by KGHM Polska Miedź S.A, is Rudna mine which produces copper and silver.

12. Kazakhstan

Copper Production in 2021: 511,940 metric tons

Kazakhstan produces 4% of the total copper produced in the world but it is it expected to see a slight decline in its production. According to Mining Technology, this decline of CAGR 0.63% is forecasted for the period 2022 to 2026 by Global Data. Out of the 709 mines that are operational in the world, 24 of them exist in Kazakhstan. Few of the biggest of these are Aktogay and Zhezkazgan, producing 229.78 thousand tons and 171.38 thousand tons of copper, respectively.

11. Canada

Copper Production in 2021: 541,648 metric tons

Canada holds copper reserves of almost 900 million tons in huge deposits of sulfide and porphyry. British Columbia is the single largest producer of copper in Canada, producing 53% of the total copper production. This province also has Canada’s biggest copper mine named Highland Valley that alone in 2022 produced 119,000 tons of copper, according to Government of Canada.

10. Mexico

Copper Production in 2023: 750,000 metric tons

The nation possesses nearly 53 million metric tons of reserves. The Buenavista del Cobre Mine in Sonora stands as Mexico's largest mine, giving out a production of 427.44 thousand tons of copper. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico saw a 1.4% decrease in copper production in July 2022 compared to the previous year. This decline affected the entire mining industry in the country, resulting from mine closures, operational delays, and reduced ore grades.

9. Zambia

Copper Production in 2023: 760,000 metric tons

Copper plays a major role in the Zambian economy and accounts for 75% of the country’s total export earnings. The Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia produce most of the country's copper, squirting out a production volume of 72,694 metric tons in 2022; they represent Africa's largest copper deposit. The Lumwana mine is another significant operation in Zambia. It is owned by Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE: GOLD).

As per UK investment firm SP Angel, Zambia's new president, Hakainde Hichilema, aims to boost investments in the country and intends to triple its copper production in the next decade.

8. Australia

Copper Production in 2023: 810,000 metric tons

The second largest copper reserves in the world belong to Australia second only to Chile at 93 million tons. About 10% of Australia's revenue comes from copper exports. In 2021, half of Australia's exports went to China, with Japan and South Korea following closely behind. The Olympic Dam deposit in Australia is home to one of the country's largest copper reserves, producing 205,000 tons in 2021, and is owned by BHP group limited (NYSE:BHP).

7. Indonesia

Copper Production in 2023: 840,000 metric tons

Indonesia is also one of the world's top copper producing countries. Grasberg Block Cave Mine, which is located in Papua which is owned by Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) produces the most copper around 26.4 million tons per annum. Though as per the remarks of the President of Indonesia the country might ban the export of copper to improve the resource processing industry.

6. Russia

Copper Production in 2023: 910,000 metric tons

Russia has around 62 million tons of copper deposits. Udokan deposits in Siberia are Russia’s largest deposits and the third largest deposits in the world. Russia has begun production at the country’s largest untapped copper deposit. The initial stage of this metallurgical plant is said to be launched in 2024. It will handle up to 15 million tons of ore per year.

Click to continue reading and find out about Top 5 Copper Producing Countries In The World.

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Disclosure: None. Top 20 Copper Producing Countries In The World is originally published on Insider Monkey.

Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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