Worldwide refined copper production is estimated to have increased by 3% in the first quarter of 2018, according to new figures released by the International Copper Study Group. It says that secondary copper production surged by 6% while primary production grew 2.3% in this period.
Total production at copper mines averaged approximately 330 000 tonnes in the first quarter of the year. This is largely due to the fact that production in Chile, the world’s biggest copper producer, increased by almost 20%. Copper output at Indonesian mines was up by a remarkable 58%.
On a regional basis, mine production is estimated to have increased by around 11% in Africa, 7% in the Americas, 6% in Asia, 4% in Europe and 5% in Oceania.
‘Although no major supply disruptions occurred in the first quarter of this year, overall growth was partially offset by lower output at some mines in Canada (-10%) and in the United States (-7.5%),’ market analysts observe.
China was the biggest contributor to growth with usage increasing by around 5%. This was driven by a 10% increase in net refined copper imports. Usage in the rest of the world fell by about 1%.
The global refined copper balance for the first quarter of 2018 indicates a surplus of about 150 000 tonnes.