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The world's top 10 largest copper producers in 2021 - report

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(Kitco News) - Kitco ranked the top 10 copper producers worldwide based on attributable tonnes of copper mined in 2021 calendar year. The focus on attributable tonnes was made in order to avoid double counting.

With 1,728 ktonnes of copper mined in 2021 (including minority interests in El Abra and Anglo American Sur), Chilean mining behemoth Codelco is the largest copper producer worldwide. The company’s attributable copper output was flat compared to 2020 (1,727 ktonnes). Despite two years of pandemic, Codelco has maintained its targeted level of production. Moreover, the company continues moving forward its advanced projects, with Andina Transfer System and Rajo Inca to be in full production phase in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Freeport-McMoRan is second with 1,407 ktonnes of copper (attributable) produced in 2021, an increase of 19% compared to 2020, primarily reflecting the ramp-up of underground mining at Grasberg.

Glencore is third with own sourced copper production of 1,196 ktonnes in 2021, which was 62,400 tonnes (5%) lower than 2020, mainly due to the Mopani disposal (23,800 tonnes), expected lower copper grades at Antapaccay (14,800 tonnes) and lower copper by-products from our mature zinc and nickel mines (26,600 tonnes).

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BHP Billiton sits fourth with 1,022 ktonnes of attributable copper output in 2021 (calendar year ended 31 December 2021). BHP’s copper production decreased compared to 2020 (1,107 ktonnes) primarily due to lower volumes at Olympic Dam because of the planned smelter maintenance campaign completed in January 2022. This was partially offset by higher volumes at Antamina.

Southern Copper is fifth. The company’s 2021 copper production decreased 4.3% year-over-year to 958 ktonnes. However, the company said that this result was 1.6% higher than its annual target of 943 ktonnes. With the exception of the Cuajone operation, where production levels were similar to those registered in 2020, a decrease in yearly copper production was reported by all of the company’s mines due to a temporary drop in ore grades and recoveries.

First Quantum sits sixth. The company’s copper production of 816 ktonnes achieved in 2021 was the highest annual copper production in First Quantum’s history.

The complete list is on the chart.

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