According to prepublication figures in Metals Economics Group’s (MEG) Copper Reserves Replacement Strategies study, the top 23 global copper producers increased annual production by 26% over the past decade to 11 million mt of copper in 2010—almost 70% of world mined production—and together replaced almost 290% of their reserves depleted through production from 2001 to 2010.MEG‘s study, to be published in June 2011, also includes the theoretical return-on-investment for discoveryoriented exploration spending. While the individual discovery successes of the 23 profiled major copper producers varies, as a group, MEG calculates these companies have created more than $180 in in-situ value for each dollar spent exploring for new discoveries.
Metals Economics Group’s Copper Reserves Replacement Strategies study addresses key growth strategy issues facing the copper mining industry and compares the relative costs per pound of discovering or acquiring copper in the ground. In addition to an industry-wide review of the copper pipeline, acquisition activity, copper exploration spending, and major discovery successes, the study also provides a variety of metrics for measuring and comparing the relative costs of various growth strategies for the 23 largest copper miners and the industry as a whole. The 2011 edition includes a new metric—the ratio of in-situ value in new significant copper discoveries versus the exploration dollars spent in search for new copper discoveries.