SMM6, 19 March: copper miners will need to rethink the way copper is mined as global copper demand will double and exceed supply over the next 20 years, while copper ore grade will continue to decline, according to the Australian International Copper Association (ICAA).
ICAA Chief Executive John Fennell said on Tuesday that most of the world's large copper mines have been mined for more than 75 years, so they are now facing declining ore grade, but demand for copper is still rising as global electrification develops.
Fennell says it will use 26 million tons of copper a year by 2040, twice as much as it currently uses.
So according to the current situation, copper miners will be forced to obtain more resources from limited mining areas, dig deeper, and enter riskier and more difficult to enter mining areas.
Fennell also says this can be done with the help of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, machinery and advanced sensors. And with the help of these cash technologies, the production process of copper will be safer and the impact on the environment will be greatly reduced.
However, due to the limitations of various conditions, the speed and scope of the promotion of these advanced technologies are not as expected, and are still mainly adopted by "large miners with strong financial resources".
The decline in ore grade is not just bothering copper miners, but Chile, which is in the top echelon of global copper production, also faces huge challenges.
The copper industry is Chile's pillar industry, accounting for 13 per cent of Chile's gross domestic product (GDP).
Copper also accounts for 60 per cent of its annual exports, mainly to Asian countries, including China, the largest consumer of copper.
Juan Rayo Calderon, vice president of Minnovex AG, believes that the biggest challenge facing Chile at present is that mining productivity at home is much lower than that of overseas competitors.
Calderon says copper mining in Chile is becoming more difficult, mining target ore is becoming more difficult, and the cost of mining water is rising.
In addition, the miners also have higher and higher demands for wages, and the local community hopes that the mining area can better protect the environment and reduce the damage to the environment. The most recent strike at the Chuquicamata copper mine, owned by (Codelco), the Chilean state copper company, will exacerbate the tight supply of overseas copper mines. In an effort to ease tensions, Codelco on Tuesday offered the miners a new contract plan and optimized the terms and conditions of the contract. "relevant news-Codelco offers new contract options in response to the escalation of the strike
At present, it seems that these high requirements have affected not only the copper industry in Chile, but also the global copper market in the near future.
But Calderon also said a road map supported by the Chilean government and the private research sector was expected to be updated this year to increase mining productivity.
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