Although copper has been mined from a variety of mineral deposits, porphyry copper deposits are the most important source for copper, contributing more than 60% of the annual world copper production and approximately 65% of the known total copper resource. Since 1970, more than 95% of the U. S. copper production has been derived from porphyry copper deposits.
With open pit mining operations beginning at Bingham Canyon in 1906, porphyry copper deposits were the first type of metallic mineral deposit to be mined by largescale, bulk tonnage, open pit mining methods. Economies of scale and advances in technology have made it possible to profitably mine these deposits despite their relatively low ore grades.
The development of technologies for extracting metals from low-grade ores has further enhanced the economic importance of copper porphyry deposits in meeting global demand.
Costmine Intelligence tracks resource development of projects over time. Here are 15 of the largest copper porphyry resources (Measured and Indicated).
Copper Project Pipeline
According to McKinsey, global electrification could increase annual copper demand to 36.6 million tonnes by 2031, compared to the current demand of roughly 25 million tonnes. However, the consultancy firm forecasts copper supply to be around 30.1 million tonnes, leaving a gap of 6.5 million tonnes by the start of the next decade.
Exploration for new sources for copper today is critical to bring mines into operation in the future. According to one study, it takes on average 15.7 years to bring a mineral discovery into production.
Costmine Intelligence tracks the development status of projects over time to make discovering the next sources of copper easier. Currently, there are 298 copper porphyry projects not in production being tracked globally, at various stages of development.
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