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ICGS: 77% secondary copper refining growth in 10 years

Global – World production of refined copper increased by an average annual rate of 2.3% over the last 10 years, from 15.6 million tonnes in 2001 to 19.1 million tonnes last year, according to the 2011 Statistical Yearbook published by the International Copper Study Group. Overall growth in the 10-year period was 22%, with primary and secondary refined production increasing by 14% and 77% respectively.

The share of secondary production in total refined production averaged 14% during the decade but, owing to the combined effects of concentrate shortages and higher refined prices, averaged almost 17% in the last two years.

Over the full 10-year period, China annual refined production tripled from 1.5 to 4.6 million tonnes. Chilean production increased by 360 000 tonnes to 3.3 million tonnes and significant increases in India, Bulgaria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia together added around one million tonnes of annual world refined production.

Refined production in the EU rose by 8% to 2.6 million tonnes. However, US production fell by 39% to 707 000 tonnes and the Canadian figure by 44% to 250 000 tonnes.

World annual refined copper usage increased by 29% over the 10-year period from 15 to 19.3 million tonnes, an annual growth rate of 2.9%. Growth was driven by China, where usage increased by 215% to 5.1 million tonnes.

According to ICSG data, world copper mine production rose by 18% from 13.6 million tonnes in 2001 to 16.1 million tonnes in 2010. Copper in concentrates rose by 16% while solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) production rose by 28%.

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