SHANGHAI, China Global copper mine output will increase next year by more than the "mild" 6.4 percent forecast by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG), according to a top executive from Chinas largest copper smelter.
Copper contained in concentrate output will increase by about 1.3 million tonnes in 2013, Wu Yuneng, Jiangxi Coppers deputy general manager, said in Shanghai Wednesday.
The company reached this estimate after talking to all global miners in London during the London Metal Exchanges LME week in October, he added.
ICSG in October forecast mine output would increase by 1.05 million tonnes to 17.53 million tonnes next year, Wu told delegates at AMM sister publication Metal Bulletins 8th Asia Copper Conference. The group also predicted a 458,000-tonne surplus in global refined copper market during the first half of next year.
Wu said he expects Chinas copper smelting capacity to increase by 400,000 tonnes per year to around 5.2 million tonnes in 2013. However, as Chinas environmental assessments are becoming more stringent, it is becoming harder for new capacities to get through, he noted.
Chinese smelters, who rely on imported concentrate to meet 70 to 80 percent of their needs, are being pressured by low profit margins.
"Profit distributions are unequal along the industry chain, with miners grabbing too big a share," Wu said. "Such a status quo is unhealthy for the copper industry."
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.