As copper prices began to rapidly rise earlier in the year, competition between the biggest mining companies has been extra intense this year. Between copper being a vital metal as we move forward with the green energy transition and the disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for copper has only grown.
The top 10 copper mining companies were just released and produce over half of the world’s copper output, with most of the global copper supply produced by giant mining companies.
Despite the impact from the pandemic, worldwide copper production still surpassed the 20-million-tonne mark in 2020.
Let’s take a look at the top three companies and what they accomplished in 2020. Here are the top 10 copper mining companies:
Chile’s Codelco was by far the biggest copper mining company in 2020, producing 1727.50 Kt, as they implemented a four step plan to help overcome operational challenges and continue copper production.
Codelco recently broke ground at their Salvador copper mine, which is the Rajo Inca project. This is a $1.4 billion dollar expansion of the copper mine, and is expected to increase the operating life of the mine by around 47 years and increase output by 50%. This salvador mine has been in operation since 1959 and the expansion will change it from an underground mine to an open pit. Full production at the new section is set to begin in the first half of 2023, and it is expected to yield 90,000 tonnes per year.
BHP Group (NYSE:BHP)
Australia’s BHP Group was the second largest copper producing company in 2020, producing 1188.50 Kt. According to the BHP group, this is enough copper to build over 420,000 wind turbines. The Company did experience a disruption in production due to the pandemic, resulting in a shutdown for a period of time.
In recent news, BHP Group just approved a multi billion dollar investment for Jansen Potash mine in Saskatchewan. According to the provincial government, $5 billion has already been spent on production and another 7.5 billion will be used to complete the new operation. This is said to be the largest investment in the history of the province of Saskatchewan.
The third largest copper mining company in 2020 was Switzerland’s company Glencore, producing 1182.30 Kt of copper in 2020. Glencore operates more than 180 sites and offices in 35 different countries, which means the impact of Covid-19 varied depending on the country. With all of their precautions in place, they managed to be in the top three copper mining companies in 2020.
Glencore recently signed a partnership with Britishvolt for a long term supply of cobalt. According to Glencore, “The deal highlights the need for strategic partnerships between raw material and battery producers on the roadmap to net-zero; with Environmental, Social and Governance a growing focus of investors.”
Overall, the price of copper has and is continuing to rise at a fast rate, especially due to the green energy movement. Investing in copper mining companies is a good way to benefit from that price, and helps stay on top of the most current copper trends.