Many big new copper mines likely to be needed – Anglo – by Martin Creamer ( – February 6, 2018)

CAPE TOWN ( – Based on two relatively moderate and reasonable growth assumptions, the world will need the equivalent of another 22 Collahuasi copper mines to meet expected copper demand by 2030, Anglo American base metals marketing head Alex Schmitt said on Tuesday.

Collahuasi, which Schmitt described as the second biggest copper mine in the world, produced 506 000 t of copper in 2016. “That’s a true supply cliff that mining needs to deliver,” Schmitt said during a panel discussion at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, at which Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online is taking part.

Working on the assumption that the growth rate of copper over the next 13 years is 2% a year, which in historic terms is not high, the estimate is that the world would need the equivalent of another 13 Collahuasi copper mines by 2030.

Add to that the assumption that global copper consumption would rise from the current 3 kg per person to 4 kg per person, which is not considered unreasonable, and it would rise to the need for the equivalent of another 22 Collahuasi mines to come on stream.

However, there was nothing like that number of copper mine projects in the pipeline. He calculated that in 30 years, the current population of the world of seven-billion people was projected to rise to ten-billion people, and the world’s two-billion people considered middle class were expected to increase to five-billion in the next ten years – the time that it would take to build one new Collahuasi.

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