ICSG revises 2024 copper forecast

Written by Stephanie Ritenbaugh

World copper mine production is expected to increase by 0.5% in 2024 with growth of 3.9% forecast in 2025, according to a report by the International Copper Study Group.

The Lisbon, Portugal-based organization’s report reveals a revised view of the world balance of refined copper production. Production growth had been forecasted at 3.7% by the group in October 2023.

The downward adjustment is “mainly due to the slower than expected ramp-up of a number of projects, delays in project commissioning, revised company production guidance and the closure of First Quantum’s 380,000 tonne per year capacity Cobre Panama mine,” ICSG stated.

However, in 2025, global output will benefit from the start-up of the Malmyzhskoye mine in the Russian Federation as well as the Kammoa-Kakula Phase 3 expansion in the DRC.

A number of expansions and the opening of some medium and small mines will also add to production.

As for refined copper, production is expected to rise by about 2.8% in 2024 and 2.2% in 2025, according to the report.

This year, refined copper output should recover from a series of maintenance outages, accidents and operational issues that occurred in 2023 in countries including Chile, Japan, India, Indonesia and United States, the report said. Overall, primary electrolytic refined output is expected to increase by 2.9% and electrowinning production by 0.5%.

“In 2025, although production will benefit from the continued expansion of Chinese electrolytic capacity and the ramp-up of new smelters/refineries in Indonesia and India, primary electrolytic refined production growth is expected to be limited by the constrained availability of concentrates and to increase by a modest 0.7%,” the ICSG said. “However, electrowinning output is forecast to rise by 4% and secondary refined production (from scrap) by 6%, benefiting from expanded capacity.”

The report revises downward the rate of growth in apparent refined copper usage for this year– the latest forecast is 2%, a drop from the 2.7% estimated at the group’s 2023 meetings.

World refined copper balance projections indicate a surplus of about 162,000 tonnes for 2024 and 94,000 tonnes for 2025, the report states.

The ICSG will met again in Lisbon in September.

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