June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Global copper demand may double in 15 years to about 36 million metric tons, according to Ricardo Alvarez Fuentes, general manager of the El Teniente division of Codelco, the world's largest copper producer.
Growth in demand may be 4 percent this year, and rise to 4.7 percent in 2014, Alvarez Fuentes said today at a conference in Hamburg. That's up from an average 2.7 percent annual growth from 1960 to 2009, he said. Copper prices have doubled since 2004 as demand grew from an expanding economy in China, the world's largest user of the metal.
"Demand will continue to grow at significant rates," Alvarez Fuentes said.
Copper had supply shortfalls in 2004, 2005 and 2007, according to the International Copper Study Group. Supplies of refined copper will be sufficient to meet demand, Alvarez Fuentes said.
El Teniente is the largest of Codelco's operations and hosts the world's biggest underground mine, according to Codelco's website. Production at El Teniente will be "just over 400,000 metric tons" this year, which is stable with last year, and have a "small" increase next year, he said.
The conference was organized by the GDMB Society for Mining, Metallurgy, Resource and Environmental Technology with Aurubis AG, the largest publicly listed copper refiner.