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China Copper Firms Call For More Mining to Boost Supply

Mining industry leaders say they are concerned about global supply chains for the metal which is vital to the renewable energy and EV sectors

Aerial view of the Las Bambas copper deposit zone
An aerial view of the Las Bambas copper deposit zone in the department of Abancay, in southern Peru. File photo: AFP.


China’s government has been urged by its leading copper producers to boost production at home and abroad, as fears over supply chains grow.

Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd, Zijin Mining, Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co Ltd and others said a new round of ore prospecting needed to get under way as soon as possible and new mines developed, the state-backed China Nonferrous Metals News reported on Wednesday.

The lobbying by the industry comes amid rising concern about the global supply of copper, which is used in transport and construction, and increasingly in the fast-growing renewable energy and electric vehicle sectors.

In Peru, the Las Bambas copper mine, owned by Chinese miner MMG Ltd, said it has started to reduce operations due to recent blockades by indigenous communities, who have disrupted activity on and off for months.


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Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, said this week it would extend maintenance work at its Chuquicamata smelter to 135 days, from an initially planned 90-day stoppage.

China is the world’s top user of copper and relies on imports for about 25% of its consumption.

Mining companies should mine deeper and broader and work on extending the life of their mines, while smelting companies should speed up overseas resource development and optimise their layout over the industry chain, the Chinese companies are reported to have demanded.

Chinese miners are, however, facing growing headwinds abroad, as countries compete to secure critical resources.

Last week, Canada ordered three Chinese companies to give up their investments in Canadian minerals, citing national security.

China produced 10.49 million tonnes of refined copper last year and imported 23.40 million tonnes of copper ore and concentrate.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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