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Global Copper mine production climbs during 2018

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LONDON (Scrap Register): Global copper mine production is estimated to have increased by about 2.3% in 2018, with concentrate production rising by 2.2% and solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) by 3.2%, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

The  increase  in  world  mine  production  of  about  460,000  t  copper  was  principally  due  to  constrained  output  in  2017  (mainly  in  Chile, Indonesia and the DRC) and to an unusually low rate of overall supply disruptions in 2018.

Besides the restart of Katanga’s 300,000 tpy copper mine in the DRC no major new copper mine started in 2018.

Production  in  Chile,  the  world’s  biggest  copper  mine  producing  country,  increased  by  6%  primarily  because  output  in  February/March 2017 was restricted by a strike at Escondida (the world’s largest copper mine).

Indonesian  concentrate  output  increased  by  5%  due  to  the  fact  that  comparative  output  in  2017  was  negatively  affected  by  a  temporary ban on concentrate exports that started in January and ended in April.

SX-EW production in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) increased by 16% and Zambian mine output increased by 8% as a result of the restart of temporarily closed capacity in both countries.

After a strong increase over the last few  years  due  to  new  and  expanded  capacity,  output  in  Peru  (the  world’s  second  largest  copper mine producing country) stabilized.

Although no major mine supply disruptions occurred in 2018 overall growth was partially offset by lower output in Canada (-10%) and the United States (-3%).

On a regional basis, mine production is estimated to have increased by around 10% in Africa, 3.5% in Latin America and 10% in Oceania but declined by 4% in North America and remained essentially unchanged in Asia and Europe.

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