Copper Ore Exports by Country

Copper cable & wire (courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Copper cables & wiring

Global sales for copper ore exports by country totaled US$58.2 billion in 2017, up by 10% since 2013 with a 23.7% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

Copper is a relatively soft, malleable and ductile metal which is the preferred electrical conductor for most forms of electrical wiring excluding overhead electric power transmission where aluminum is often chosen. While roughly half of mined copper is used in electrical wires and cables, copper also serves as an essential component in electrical motors, as well as a corrosion-resistant and weatherproof building material notably for roofs, spires, rain gutters and doors.

Over half (55.7%) of worldwide copper ore exports came from Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean. Asia was the source for 17.6% of the global total, ahead of 10.9% worth of copper ore exported from North America. Smaller percentages originated from Australia and Papua New Guinea (7.7%), Europe (5.1%) and Africa (2.9%).

The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 2603 for copper ores and concentrates.

Copper Ore Exports by Country

Countries

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of copper ore during 2017.

  1. Chile: US$17.4 billion (29.9% of total copper exports)
  2. Peru: $12 billion (20.6%)
  3. Australia: $3.6 billion (6.3%)
  4. Indonesia: $3.4 billion (5.9%)
  5. Canada: $2.8 billion (4.7%)
  6. Brazil: $2.5 billion (4.3%)
  7. Spain: $2.1 billion (3.6%)
  8. Mexico: $1.9 billion (3.2%)
  9. United States: $1.7 billion (2.9%)
  10. Mongolia: $1.6 billion (2.8%)
  11. Kazakhstan: $1.1 billion (1.9%)
  12. Democratic Rep. Congo: $989 million (1.7%)
  13. Papua New Guinea: $813.8 million (1.4%)
  14. Taiwan: $597.9 million (1%)
  15. Armenia: $586.8 million (1%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 91.2% of all copper ore exports in 2017 (by value).

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing copper exporters since 2013 were: Taiwan (up 69,348%), Armenia (up 109.6%), Kazakhstan (up 84.0%) and Mongolia (up 71.9%).

Five countries posted declines in their exported copper sales namely United States (down -34.1%), Democratic Republic of Congo (down -29.6%), Australia (down -26.2%), Papua New Guinea (down -23.3%) and Canada (down -4.7%).

Advantages

The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for copper ore during 2017. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s copper ore exports and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. Chile: US$17.3 billion (net export surplus up 6.4% since 2013)
  2. Peru: $12 billion (up 57.4%)
  3. Australia: $3.6 billion (down -27%)
  4. Indonesia: $3.4 billion (up 20.3%)
  5. Canada: $2.4 billion (down -8.2%)
  6. Mexico: $1.7 billion (up 30.8%)
  7. Brazil: $1.6 billion (up 112.7%)
  8. Mongolia: $1.6 billion (up 71.9%)
  9. United States: $1.6 billion (down -35.7%)
  10. Kazakhstan: $1 billion (up 81.4%)
  11. Democratic Rep. Congo: $988.9 million (down -29.6%)
  12. Papua New Guinea: $813.8 million (down -22.5%)
  13. Armenia: $586.8 million (up 109.6%)
  14. Laos: $554.3 million (down -14.8%)
  15. Iran: $518.2 million (up 3451.9%)

Chile has the highest surplus in the international trade of copper ore. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms strong competitive advantage under this specific product category for South America’s seventh-largest country by population.

Opportunities

The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for copper ore during 2017. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s copper ore import purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. China: -US$26.1 billion (net export deficit up 33.8% since 2013)
  2. Japan: -$8.3 billion (down -21.6%)
  3. India: -$3.9 billion (down -47.9%)
  4. South Korea: -$3.5 billion (down -11.8%)
  5. Germany: -$2.2 billion (down -6.4%)
  6. Bulgaria: -$1.5 billion (down -8.2%)
  7. Philippines: -$1.4 billion (up 770.9%)
  8. Spain: -$1 billion (down -37.7%)
  9. Zambia: -$835.7 million (down -36.9%)
  10. Finland: -$569 million (down -27%)
  11. Sweden: -$414.9 million (down -28.7%)
  12. Poland: -$335.9 million (up 31%)
  13. Russia: -$283.9 million (up 85.3%)
  14. Namibia: -$238.2 million (down -9.6%)
  15. Serbia: -$164.4 million (reversing a $5.7 million surplus)

China incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of copper ore. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights China’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for copper ore-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand from the rapidly expanding Chinese economy.

Companies

Copper Ore Exporting Companies

Below is a sampling including the world’s largest copper ore producers. Show within parenthesis is the country where the business is headquartered.

  • Donner Metals (Canada)
  • First Quantum Minerals (Canada)
  • Freeport-McMoRan (United States)
  • Grupo México (Mexico)
  • Hindustan Copper (India)
  • Hudbay Minerals (Canada)
  • KAZ Minerals (Kazakhstan)
  • KGHM (Poland)
  • Konkola Copper Mines (Zambia)
  • Lundin Mining (Canada)
  • Minera Escondida (Chile)
  • MMG Limited (Australia)
  • OZ Minerals (Australia)
  • Palabora Mining Company (South Africa)
  • Teck Resources (Canada)

The Chilean firm Minera Escondida operates the world’s highest-producing copper ore mine.

See also Iron Ore Exports by Country, Top Aluminum Exporters by Country, Top Stainless Steel Exporters by Country and Top Nickel Exporters by Country

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 29, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 29, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 29, 2018

Wikipedia, Copper. Accessed on August 29, 2018

Wikipedia, Copper mining companies. Accessed on August 29, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 29, 2018