That dollar amount reflects a 44.3% increase since 2018 when exported copper was worth $62.7 billion.
Year over year, globally exported copper slowed to a 2% gain compared to $88.7 billion for 2021.
The 5 biggest exporters of copper ore are Chile, Peru, Indonesia, Australia and Canada. Collectively, that concentrated group of suppliers shipped three-fifths (60%) of the total value for exported copper ore during 2022.
Copper is a relatively soft, malleable and ductile metal which is the preferred electrical conductor for most forms of electrical wiring with one caveat. Copper is excluded from overhead electric power transmission where aluminum is often chosen.
While roughly half of mined copper is used in electrical wires and cables, copper 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.
Applying a continental lens, almost half (47.9%) of worldwide copper ore exports came from suppliers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Asia was the source for another 24.5% of the global total, ahead of 10.7% worth of copper ore exported from North America.
Smaller percentages of international sales originated from Australia and Papua New Guinea in Oceania (6.6%), Europe (5.6%) and Africa (4.6%).
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 2603 for copper ores and concentrates.
Copper Ore Exports by Country
Below are the 25 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of copper ore during 2022.
- Chile: US$23.1 billion (25.5% of exported copper ore)
- Peru: $13.4 billion (14.8%)
- Indonesia: $9.2 billion (10.2%)
- Australia: $5.1 billion (5.6%)
- Canada: $3.5 billion (3.9%)
- Mexico: $3.1 billion (3.5%)
- United States: $3 billion (3.4%)
- Panama: $2.8 billion (3.1%)
- Brazil: $2.74 billion (3%)
- Mongolia: $2.73 billion (3%)
- Democratic Rep. Congo: $2.6 billion (2.9%)
- Kazakhstan: $2.4 billion (2.6%)
- Serbia: $1.8 billion (2%)
- Taiwan: $1.63 billion (1.8%)
- South Korea: $1.58 billion (1.7%)
- Ecuador: $1.29 billion (1.4%)
- Spain: $1.28 billion (1.4%)
- Russia: $1.1 billion (1.2%)
- Georgia: $979 million (1.1%)
- Papua New Guinea: $895.5 million (1%)
- Saudi Arabia: $678.6 million (0.7%)
- Armenia: $662.9 million (0.7%)
- Malaysia: $600.2 million (0.7%)
- Türkiye: $523.1 million (0.6%)
- Philippines: $402 million (0.4%)
By value, the listed 25 countries shipped 96.3% of global copper ore exported in 2022.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing exporters of copper ore since 2021 were: Ecuador (up 164%), Serbia (up 110.5%), Malaysia (up 97.5%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (up 93.8%).
Suppliers in Saudi Arabia (up 0.7% from 2021) then the United States of America (up 4.3%) posted the most modest advances in their exported copper ore sales.
Countries Exporting Highest Volumes of Copper by Shipment Weight
The following listing reveals which countries shipped the greatest tonnage of copper ore during 2022.
By shipment value, the listed top exporters accounted for 86.2% of all copper ore sold on international markets.
- Chile: 11,548,748 tons of exported copper (down -10.2% from 2021)
- Peru: 6,652,062 tons (up 0.3%)
- Indonesia: 3,133,926 tons (up 40.2%)
- Australia: 1,636,838 tons (down -5.3%)
- Mexico: 1,566,995 tons (up 1%)
- Mongolia: 1,453,289 tons (up 13.3%)
- Kazakhstan: 1,433,764 tons (up 48.4%)
- Panama: 1,300,352 tons (up 4.9%)
- Serbia: 1,191,263 tons (up 136.7%)
- Brazil: 1,047,154 tons (down -11.7%)
- Democratic Rep. Congo: 921,711 tons (up 103.5%)
- Spain: 891,720 tons (up 41.7%)
- South Korea: 745,112 tons (up 32.9%)
- Ecuador: 606,606 tons (up 171.3%)
- Russia: 592,604 tons (down -4.8%)
The greatest increases in copper ore exports by shipment weight belong to shippers in Ecuador (up 171.3% since 2021), Serbia (up 136.7%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (up 103.5%) and Kazakhstan (up 48.4%).
Posting year-over-year declines were copper suppliers in Brazil (down -11.7% from 2021), Chile (down -10.2%), Australia (down -5.3%) then Russia (down -4.8%).
Average Unit Prices for Exported Copper Ore
The worldwide average price for exported copper ore was US$2,248 per ton during 2022.
That global average reflects a 32.2% increase compared to $1,701 per ton for 2018. The annual inflation rate for copper ore exports is a 351.4% acceleration from an average $498 for 2021.
The list below is sorted in ascending order for the top 15 exporters of copper ore by dollar value.
- Chile: US$1,996 per ton of exported copper (down -3.7% from 2021)
- Peru: $2,017 per ton (down -12.2%)
- Indonesia: $2,950 per ton (up 22.5%)
- Australia: $3,120 per ton (down -7.8%)
- Canada: $8,782 per ton (down -10.9%)
- Mexico: $2,002 per ton (down -9.2%)
- United States of America: $8,573 per ton (up 5.9%)
- Panama: $2,151 per ton (down -5.2%)
- Brazil: $2,621 per ton (down -7.7%)
- Mongolia: $1,882 per ton (down -16.8%)
- Democratic Rep. Congo: $2,817 per ton (down -4.8%)
- Kazakhstan: $1,650 per ton (down -0.8%)
- Serbia: $1,511 per ton (down -11.1%)
- Taiwan: $3,085 per ton (up 12.7%)
- South Korea: $2,124 per ton (up 0.5%)
Among the top copper ore suppliers by total dollar value, the lowest average prices are charged by Serbia ($1,511 per ton), Kazakhstan ($1,650 per ton), Mongolia ($1,882 per ton) and Chile ($1,996 per ton).
The most expensive copper ore exports in 2022 were shipped by Canada ($8,782 per ton), the United States of America ($8,573 per ton) and Australia ($3,120).
Countries Generating Highest Surpluses Trading Copper
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for copper ore during 2022. 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.
- Chile: US$23 billion (net export surplus down -13.4% since 2021.
- Peru: $13.2 billion (down -13%)
- Indonesia: $9.2 billion (up 71.7%)
- Australia: $5.1 billion (down -9.4%)
- United States of America: $2.9 billion (up 3.7%)
- Panama: $2.8 billion (down -0.6%)
- Mongolia: $2.7 billion (down -5.6%)
- Democratic Rep. Congo: $2.6 billion (up 93.8%)
- Brazil: $2.58 billion (down -12.1%)
- Canada: $2.52 billion (down -25.5%)
- Mexico: $2.48 billion (down -17.9%)
- Kazakhstan: $2.1 billion (up 36.5%)
- Serbia: $1.8 billion (up 156.7%)
- Ecuador: $1.3 billion (up 164%)
- Russia: $1 billion (down -9.7%)
World leader Chile generated 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.
Countries Incurring Worst Deficits Trading Copper
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for copper ore during 2022. 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.
- China: -US$56.3 billion (net export deficit down -0.8% since 2021.
- Japan: -$13.8 billion (up 5.1%)
- South Korea: -$5 billion (up 3.4%)
- India: -$3.2 billion (up 31.1%)
- Germany: -$2.6 billion (down -12.9%)
- Bulgaria: -$1.9 billion (up 16.2%)
- Finland: -$1.1 billion (up 7.8%)
- Spain: -$933.8 million (down -41.6%)
- Philippines: -$839.6 million (reversing a $147.2 million surplus)
- Sweden: -$816.9 million (down -10.2%)
- Poland: -$547.1 million (up 18.2%)
- Malaysia: -$361.8 million (down -7.3%)
- Zambia: -$266 million (up 61.9%)
- Uzbekistan: -$258.5 million (down -25%)
- Namibia: -$137.6 million (down -60.3%)
The People’s Republic of 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.
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 Chile’s Top 10 Exports, Iron Ore Exports by Country, Top Tin Exporters, Iron Ore Imports by Country and China’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on August 22, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 22, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 22, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 22, 2023
Wikipedia, Copper. Accessed on August 22, 2023
Wikipedia, Copper mining companies. Accessed on August 22, 2023