Copper production required to double by 2050, says outgoing Glencore boss

Ivan Glasenberg, CEO, Glencore.

COPPER consumption would double by 2050 which could leave the world with a major supply deficit, said Reuters citing the views of Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore. 

“Today, the world consumes 30 million tons of copper per year and by the year 2050, following this trajectory, we’ve got to produce 60 million tons of copper per year,” he said. “If you look at the historical past 10 years, we’ve only added 500,000 tons per year … Do we have the projects? I don’t think so. I think it will be extremely difficult.”

Copper was needed in order to assist with the decarbonisation of the world economy. The metal is used in renewable power and automotive applications primarily for its conductive characteristics.

Shares of many mining companies have doubled in the past year, as policy support measures in advanced economies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic stoked inflation, said Reuters. Commodities serve as a hedge against inflation, meaning their prices are expected to stay strong, it said.

The nickel and cobalt markets were facing similar supply deficits over the next few decades. Glasenberg said nickel supplies needed to grow by an extra 250,000 tons a year compared with a historic rate of just 100,000 tons. He projected annual nickel demand to rise to 9.2 million tons from the current 2.5 million tons.

Glasenberg steps down from Glencore at the end of the month, but will remain a 9% shareholder in the Swiss-headquartered firm. He will be replaced by Gary Nagle who was head of the group’s coal division.