In this article, we discuss the 15 biggest copper companies in the world. To skip the industry analysis, you can go directly to the 5 Biggest Copper Companies in the World.
Copper is the third most used metal in the world with Chile as its biggest producer and China as its biggest importer. Copper price saw its peak in April at about $10,000 per tonne and has since lost a third of its price. The main culprits in declining copper prices are the fear of global recession along with China’s zero COVID policy, leading to weaker demand from the country. Additionally, the macroeconomic pressures forced a mass sell-off on London Metal Exchange.
Copper Demand and Supply
The annual copper demand is expected to increase by 53% by 2040, mainly due to the electrification of vehicles. Global EV sales are expected to account for 40% of the total car sales by 2030. However, the world is looking at copper shortages in the near future.
The copper inventories are near historical lows. On top of that, copper giants are expected to face production shortages in the future. Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) recently halted its $2 billion copper and gold project in Peru. Furthermore, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) management says that the latest copper prices are not enough to put forward new investments.
According to S&P Global’s worst-case projection, the copper shortfall could reach around 20% of consumption by 2035. In 2021, the copper deficit was only 2% of the consumption, and it lead copper prices to increase by 25%. According to Goldman Sachs, the copper prices on the benchmark London Metal Exchange are expected to reach $15,000 by 2025.
Copyright: tomas1111 / 123RF Stock Photo
We took a look at the copper industry and the biggest companies involved in producing the red metal. We compiled a list of the biggest copper-producing companies based on their market capitalization and annual copper production. Furthermore, there is only one privately owned company that made it to our list on account of being the largest copper-producing company in the world.
Biggest Copper Companies in the World
15. KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. (OTC:KGHPF)
Market Cap as of November 25: $5.1 billion
KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. (OTC:KGHPF) is a Polish mining company that produces copper, precious metals, and non-ferrous metals. In the first three quarters of 2022, the company produced 557 thousand tonnes of payable copper, compared to 574 thousand tonnes in the same period of 2021.
KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. (OTC:KGHPF) missed its EPS and revenue estimates by 9.4% and 5.1%, respectively. However, the company’s earnings surged by a slight margin on a year-over-year basis. KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. (OTC:KGHPF) reported revenue of zł7.77 billion (1 Poland zloty = $0.22) and a net income of zł1.09 billion, representing a 7.5% and 4.7% increase from Q3 2021. In addition, the EPS was recorded at zł5.43, compared to zł5.19 in the same quarter of the prior year.
In the last three months, two analysts have covered KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. (OTC:KGHPF) and both have maintained a Hold rating on the company shares. The average price target is $25.86 which represents an upside of 36.5%.
14. Newcrest Mining Limited (OTC:NCMGY)
Market Cap as of November 25: $11.75 billion
Newcrest Mining Limited (OTC:NCMGY) is an Australian mining company that produces gold, copper, and silver. The company produced 120,650 tonnes of copper in FY2022 and provided an outlook for 2023 at 135 - 155 kilotonnes.
For FY 2022, Newcrest Mining Limited (OTC:NCMGY) reported statutory and underlying profit of $872 million. The cash flow from operating activities was around $1.68 billion and the company closed the year with a net debt of $1.3 billion. Furthermore, Newcrest Mining Limited (OTC:NCMGY)’s liquidity came in at $2.4 billion, including committed undrawn credit facilities.
Newcrest Mining Limited (OTC:NCMGY) was covered by 11 analysts in the last three months with 9 analysts keeping a Buy rating on the company shares. The average price target of the company stands at $21.60.
13. Antofagasta plc (OTC:ANFGF)
Market Cap as of November 25: $15.8 billion
Antofagasta plc (OTC:ANFGF) is a London-based copper mining company. In 2021, the company produced 721,500 tonnes of copper, making it one of the biggest copper producers in the world. However, the company guided its 2022 copper production to 640-660,000 tonnes after producing over 700 kilotonnes of copper for the past few years.
Antofagasta plc (OTC:ANFGF) is currently spending money to improve its copper production for the future. Its Los Pelambres mine Phase 2 expansion is expected to increase the project's mining output by 35,000 tonnes per year with a $500 million investment. Additionally, the Centinela project is expected to increase its output by approximately 25% soon. On top of that, Antofagasta plc (OTC:ANFGF) is also exploring Cachorro and Encierro copper projects in Chile, which are expected to have 155 million tonnes and 522 million tonnes of inferred resources, respectively.
On November 23, Deutsche Bank analyst Abhi Agarwal maintained a Hold rating on Antofagasta plc (OTC:ANFGF)’s shares and raised his price target from 1,050 GBp to 1,200 GBp.
12. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (OTC:FQVLF)
Market Cap as of November 25: $16.06 billion
First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (OTC:FQVLF) is a Canadian minerals and mining company. The company produced 743,000 metric tonnes of copper in 2021. Furthermore, 80% of First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (OTC:FQVLF)’s revenue is generated from copper.
First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (OTC:FQVLF) recently announced its Q3 results where it posted adjusted earnings of $0.14 per share and an EBITDA of $583 million. In Q3, the company’s copper production increased by 2,306 tonnes from the second quarter to 194,974 tonnes. Moreover, the company lowered its copper production output for FY2022 to 755,000 – 785,000 tonnes from the prior outlook of 790,000 – 855,000 tonnes.
On November 23, Deutsche Bank analyst Liam Fitzpatrick reaffirmed a Buy rating on First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (OTC:FQVLF)’s shares and raised the price target to C$36 from C$28. According to the analyst, the market will face low inventories, inelastic supply, and incentive-level prices for mining commodities.
11. Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK)
Market Cap as of November 25: $16.9 billion
Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK) is a Canadian mining company with 23% of its revenues coming from copper production. However, it is currently working to make its Quebrada Blanca Mill 2 in Chile reach its full potential by 2026. At that time, the company expects 34% of its revenues to be generated from copper.
Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK) is one of the best-performing mining stocks. The company made a record revenue of C$13.5 billion in 2021 and has already surpassed it to C$15.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2022. Furthermore, the company’s cash flow from operations was C$4.7 billion in 2021, compared to C$7.1 billion in the three quarters ending September 30.
Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK) has a plan to boost its copper production from the current annual average of 340 kilotonnes to 1.5 million tonnes by 2033. The 340% growth is owed to the company’s plan to increase copper production after retiring from steelmaking coal production to reach its net zero emissions target.
On November 2, RBC Capital analyst Sam Crittenden maintained an Outperform rating on Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK) and lowered the price target to C$52 from C$60.
“Finally, Teck Resources (NYSE:TECK). The shares ended the quarter at $30.57. This is about 85% of book value and less than 4x consensus earnings. The company recently began buying back its shares. When the CEO was asked on the April 27th quarterly call what the plans were for playing his ‘really strong hand of cards here,’ he responded with, ‘I’d like to buy the whole company back myself.'”
10. Zijin Mining Group Company Limited (OTC:ZIJMF)
Market Cap as of November 25: $34.7 billion
Zijin Mining Group Company Limited (OTC:ZIJMF) is a mining company based in Mainland China. Among Chinese companies, Zijin controls the largest reserves of copper and gold. In Q2 2022, it was the fifth-largest copper-producing company after producing 216 kilotonnes of mine-produced copper.
Zijin Mining Group Company Limited (OTC:ZIJMF) is also making significant strides in gold mining along with copper. The company bought a 95% stake in the Rosebel Gold Mines unit in northeastern Suriname from IAMGOLD Corporation (NYSE:IAG). The deal is expected to close in early 2023 for $401 million.
In the third quarter of 2022, Zijin Mining Group Company Limited (OTC:ZIJMF) generated revenue of CN¥71.7 billion, representing a 21% increase from the previous year. The company’s net income declined by 13% YoY to CN¥4.04 billion. Furthermore, due to higher expenses, Zijin Mining Group Company Limited (OTC:ZIJMF)’s profit margin went down by 2.3 percentage points to 5.6%.
9. Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM)
Market Cap as of November 25: $35.18 billion
Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) is a Colorado-based mining company that focuses on copper, gold, silver, zinc, and lead. The company is planning to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, for which it plans to invest $500 million through 2025 on renewable energy projects.
In the third quarter, Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) reported a miss on EPS and revenue. The net income of $0.27 was 7 cents less than the estimates, while revenues declined by 9% YoY to $2.63 billion. The company’s free cash flow was -$63 million due to one-time working capital payments of $210 million.
In the third quarter, 53 hedge funds were bullish on Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) stock with a combined value of $1.038 billion. First Eagle Investment Management held the spot as the most notable stakeholder in the company with 17.855 million shares worth $750.466 million. Moreover, D E Shaw increased its holdings in Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) by 5450% to $143.867 million and took the second spot among the top stakeholders of the company.
Here is what First Eagle Investments had to say about Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) in its Q2 2022 investor letter:
“Shares of Colorado-based Newmont, the largest gold miner in the world, experienced weakness in the quarter as falling gold bullion prices and cost inflation hurt miners in general. More idiosyncratically, the company reported slightly disappointing earnings and production results for its most recent quarter due to pandemic-related disruptions, ongoing supply-chain constraints, and labor shortages.
It also warned that operating costs for 2022 were likely to come in at the upper end of previous guidance. We remain constructive on the stock, which offers steady production anchored in good jurisdictions, a good pipeline of organic projects, a strong balance sheet, and proven management.”
8. Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO)
Market Cap as of November 25: $44.5 billion
Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO) is a copper exploration and mining company that operates in Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, and Chile. The company has the world’s largest copper reserves at 42.4 million tons of copper.
In the previous two quarters, Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO) has cut down on its quarterly dividend by 50 cents. The latest quarterly dividend was declared on October 20 at $0.50, $0.25 less than the previous quarter. The dividend was paid out on November 23 to the shareholders of record on November 9. After the dividend cut, Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO) still has a dividend yield of 3.5% compared to the 2.82% industry average.
On November 28, Grupo Santander upgraded Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO)’s shares to Outperform from Neutral and raised the price target to $69 from $60. The rate changes were based on his updated outlook for LatAm Metals and Mining Sector, which includes Santander’s metal price forecasts, supply/demand models, and estimates.
Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO) had an uptick in the hedge fund sentiment in the third quarter of 2022. 19 hedge funds had the company as a part of their portfolios in Q3, compared to 17 in the previous quarter.
7. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX)
Market Cap as of November 25: $52.17 billion
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) is an Arizona-based mining company focusing on molybdenum, copper, and gold. The company operates the largest goldmine in the world.
The third quarter wasn’t favorable towards Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX). The company recorded an EPS of $0.26, compared to $0.89 in Q3 2022. Furthermore, the revenue went down by 17.8% on a YoY basis to $5 billion and missed the estimates of $5.05 billion. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) guided its FY2022 copper sales to 4.2 billion pounds, gold to 1.8 million ounces, and molybdenum to 76 million pounds.
As of November 25, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) has a dividend yield of 1.62% with an annualized dividend payout of $0.30. The latest quarterly dividend was paid out on November 1 to the shareholders of record on October 14.
“Seeing better opportunities elsewhere in the materials sector, we exited our position in Ecolab and added to copper producer Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX), which supplies a much-needed resource for the energy transition, and specialty chemical company Linde (LIN), which has historically held onto pricing gains it has achieved following increases in energy costs. We think this pricing power should protect profitability during the acute inflationary phase and potentially lead to margin expansion when cost pressures abate. ”
6. Anglo American plc (OTC:NGLOY)
Market Cap as of November 25: $54 billion
Anglo American plc (OTC:NGLOY) is a British mining company that produces copper, diamonds, iron, nickel, platinum, and coal. It is the largest platinum producer in the world and accounts for approximately 40% of the global output.
Copper accounts for 20% of Anglo American plc (OTC:NGLOY)’s total EBITDA. The company produced 647 kilotonnes of copper in 2021. The company faced some water availability issues due to drought in Chile and recorded a 6% YoY decline in copper production in Q3 2022. However, copper operations still increased by 1% in the first three quarters of 2022. Additionally, Anglo American plc (OTC:NGLOY)’s copper production future looks bright after its Peru project Quellaveco started production in July this year. According to the management, the project is expected to produce 300,000 tons of copper equivalent per year for the first decade.
Anglo American plc (OTC:NGLOY) is a dividend stock that pays semi-annual dividends. The company has a dividend yield of 6.24% and a 55.59% payout ratio as of November 25. The latest dividend of $0.62 was paid out on September 20, 2022.
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Disclosure: None. 15 Biggest Copper Companies in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.