Key figures 2021

According to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG), global production of refined copper grew by 1.6 percent year-on-year to 24.4 million tonnes in 2020. China achieved a new record production of ten million tonnes (plus 2.5 percent compared to the previous year). That was 41 percent of world production. Global copper demand rose by 2.3 per cent to 25.0 million tonnes in 2020. China again increased its demand significantly by 13.2 per cent to 14.4 million tonnes and now alone represents 58 per cent of world demand. Overall, a production deficit of 456,000 tonnes arose worldwide. Global mining production in 2020 was approximately (minus 0.1 per cent) at the previous year’s level of 20.5 million tonnes. The ICSG expects a largely balanced global market for refined copper in 2021 with a slight supply surplus of around 80,000 tonnes. Thus, global production is expected to be 25.2 million tonnes and demand 25.1 million tonnes.  The foundries that process copper alloys recorded a 40.6 percent drop in orders to 44,000 tonnes. (Source: WVMetalle, Annual Report 20-21). There are currently about 17,000 employees in the German copper industry.

What about copper substitution?

A new study commissioned by the International Copper Association ICA found that copper continues to offer the best price-performance combination for many applications – especially where high electrical conductivity, corrosion or friction resistance is required or available space is limited. In other applications, rising material costs may motivate new research and development initiatives to use copper more efficiently (keyword miniaturisation) or to use alternative materials. The DMM Advisory Group research found that net substitution was 0.95 per cent of total global copper consumption, a slight increase from 0.83 per cent in 2019. This low substitution rate is due to users focusing on the economic impact of COVID-19 and the relatively low material cost of copper.

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Copper Materials

Copper is a significant functional metal and an important element of technical and socio-economic progress.


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