Rising Global Copper Demands

by Ina King (Potgieter) July 30, 2020

Historically, the global demand for copper has been on the rise. Since 2008, China’s contribution to the world copper demand soared from 22% to 40%.

Used in electrical wiring since the 1820s, and a staple electrical conductor in many categories of electrical wiring for more than a century, the metal is also in high demand from the alternative and renewable energy markets. Renewable energy harvesting, battery energy storage, electric vehicles, cell phones and towers, computers, cars, smart homes, pipelines and super tankers all rely on copper.

So entwined with our electrical application requirements, it seemed certain that the reduction in production activities following the Covid-19 fallout would reduce demand significantly.

Yet the downturn in copper’s fortunes in the early part of 2020 isn’t the remarkable feature of the metal’s story year-to-date. It’s how quickly it has rebounded.

From a then year-to-date high of $2.87 per pound on January 14 2020, copper shed almost a quarter of its value of the next 10 weeks, hitting $2.10 on March 23, during the early days of worldwide lockdown. That seems like distant history though, as the metal quickly recovered lost ground, registering a new YTD-high of $2.90 on July 10, and later $2.96 on July 2.

Allied closely with growing manufacturing output globally, and having weathered the immediate Covid-19 storm, copper seems certain to continue its rally, spurred by demand in both traditional and emerging electrical technology markets. This would be in line with historical trends, where copper staged significant comebacks following previous commodity shocks, the 2008 financial recession and the prolonged mining super cycle in the earlier part of the 2010s.

With demand for copper set to soar, what are the best investment opportunities for investors looking to Africa’s significant reserves of copper?

Where are the copper investment opportunities in Africa?

Africa’s Big 3 copper mines

Africa has 3 of the world’s largest copper mines:

Kansanshi Mine (Zambia)

Mining 340 kt of copper, Kansanshi is the 13th largest copper mine in the world. It is located near the town of Solwezi, on the Zambian Copperbelt, and owned by Kansanshi Mining PLC, a consortium between First Quantum and a subsidiary of ZCCM.

Kamoto Mine (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Mining operations restarted at the underground Kamoto Mine in 2007. At 300 kt, it’s the world’s 16th largest copper mine. It is operated by Katanga, a venture between Glencore and local Gécamines.

Sentinel Mine (Zambia)

Commercial production began at the Sentinel Mine only in 2016. It is the 19th largest copper mine in the world, with 250 kt, and is 100% owned by First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

Top copper producing countries in Africa

Copper supply in Africa is dominated by the DRC, with 34 mining projects, and producing 1,5 Mt, and Zambia, with 28 mining projects, and producing 950 000 tons in 2019. South Africa is a distant third, with 82 000 tons.

In addition, Namibia and Botswana represent exciting up-and-coming investment opportunities with a number projects in grassroots and feasibility stages.

This means an immediate demand for a wide range of mining services in these regions, from aeromagnetic/geophysical surveys, mapping, geochemical and soil sampling and drilling to Environmental Impact Studies (EIS), architectural planning, design and consulting.

The most active copper mining companies

In addition to major mining companies with activities on the continent, including Eurasian Resources Group; Barrick Gold Corp; First Quantum Minerals; and Glencore, a number of junior and mid-tier mining companies indicate enticing opportunities for investors of copper stock.

Some of these include Tiger Resources, Xtract Resources, and South African miner Metorex.

With the World Bank’s 2017 report “The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future” predicting a ten-fold increase in demand for metals such as copper by 2050, the market appears promising for interested copper investors.

Looking for more information on Africa’s copper mining industry?

Prospective copper investors interested in the African market can rely on AMIQ’s extensive insights and vast African mining database.

With over 90 current copper mining projects in Africa, including 34 projects in the DRC, AMIQ offers extensive news and analyses on African copper mining projects.

AMIQ’s copper intel expands 15 grassroots, 30 pre-feasibility, 11 feasibility and 7 active projects to suit your investment exploration requirements.

Want to get the latest mining news, insights and analysis? You need AMIQ!

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