Chile was the largest copper producing country in 2019.
According to the preliminary industry data, estimated global mine production of copper was 20 million tonnes in 2019, or 2% less than in 2018 (20.4 million tons). Copper output declined mainly because of reduced output from the Batu Hijau and Grasberg Mines in Indonesia, where mining was shifting to new ore zones.
With 5.6 million tonnes of copper produced in 2019, Chile was the biggest mined copper producer in the world, way ahead of its competitors. Chile faced a 4% decline in copper output due to lower ore grades, strikes and weather related disruptions, but this decrease was partially offset by increased output from other countries.
Six countries out of top ten (China, DRC, USA, Australia, Mexico, Kazakhstan) increased their copper output while four (Chile, Peru, Zambia, Russia) have faced a decline.
Global mined copper production was hovering around 20 million tonnes bar over the last four years, and this fact raising concerns of sustainable supplies of primary copper for the variety of industries.
Global refined production increased slightly to an estimated 25 million tonnes in 2019 from 24.4 million tonnes in 2018. Higher refinery capacity in China was mostly offset by smelter shutdowns for maintenance and upgrades in other countries. In Zambia, mined and refined copper output were affected by a new import duty on copper concentrates, which lowered smelter production and constrained the supply of sulfuric acid needed to produce electrowon copper.