SANTIAGO, Chile The
copper industry is facing four megatrends that will bring great
opportunities, alongside longer lead times for new supply and
higher structural costs, Rio Tinto copper division chief
executive officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques said.
The most positive of these
trendsthe growth of the worlds emerging-market
economieswill create an additional 11 million tonnes of
demand by 2024, he said.
Emerging markets accounted for
35 percent of copper demand in 2000, but this will reach 77
percent by 2024, Jacques said April 9 at the 12th World Copper
Conference in Santiago.
"We estimate the copper industry
will need to add 4 million tonnes per year (of output) just to
keep up with 2012 (demand) levels," he said, but added that
supply will become more "challenging."
Grades will continue to decline,
and projectsboth greenfield and brownfieldwill
start to dry up from 2015.
Jacques also noted trends of
social and political risks associated with new copper projects,
structurally higher costs in a resource-constrained world and
heightened environmental awareness requiring greater energy