Copper is one of the essential metals required for developing industrial economy. Globally, the copper mining industry is one of the leading markets of the metal mining market. Most of the available copper is distributed over large areas, mixed with mineralized materials and rocks. Copper ores undergo through different separation stages and processes to produce pure copper. Major copper mining nations such as Chile and Peru are investing large amounts to boost mining productivity levels. The productivity levels of copper have to be increased in the next few years to meet the global demand arising majorly from industrial economies such as China. However, the increasing complexity and project cost associated with copper mining is one of the major factors preventing major companies from increasing their production levels. The market for copper mining is anticipated to increase at a considerable rate owing to increasing investments in construction projects which is a major consumer of copper industry.
Escalating demand of copper from industrial economies such as China and India is the major factor driving investment in the copper mining market. Currently, China is the largest consumer of industrial metals and represents a major share of the global copper consumption. Many nations in Asia Pacific are transforming into major industrial economies which would bolster the demand for copper in these nations. Countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam are also prospective nations for the growth of this market. Massive infrastructure developments planned in Asia, South America and Africa are also anticipated to drive investments in the copper mining industry. Copper is also utilized in the development of telecommunication and power infrastructure. However, increasing operating costs in the copper mining industry is one of the major restraints hindering further investment in this sector.
The market for copper mining can be segmented into two major categories depending upon the mining technique employed in extraction. On the basis of mining methods used the market can be into categorized as underground mining and, open pit mining. Open pit copper mining is the predominant method used for extraction due to flexible operation techniques, optimized production levels, and relatively low investment costs. The market can also be segmented in on the basis of end-user industries. The major end-user segments in this market are equipment manufacturers, building and construction industry, infrastructure, and transportation industry. The equipment manufacturers are the major consumers in this market.
Currently, South America is the major market for copper mining industry. Chile is the leading producer of copper in this region and some of the world’s largest copper mines are located in this country. Asia Pacific also holds a significant position in the copper mining industry and the region also accounts for a significant share of global copper consumption. China accounts for a considerable share of world copper reserves and is also one of the leading copper importing nations. The growing demand of copper from industrial sector is on the prominent factors attracting investment in this sector. North America is also one of the prominent producers of copper; however, over the years mining has gradually decreased in this region.
Some of the major players in copper mining market include Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Glencore International AG, Amerigo Resources Ltd., BHP Billiton Ltd., Codelco, and Bougainville Copper Limited.