The world’s ten largest copper mines produced 4,315.2kt of fine copper in 2014 representing about 23.3% of the world total according to ICSG. But the fact that Codelco, which vies with US-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold as the world’s number one producer of the metal, is spending $25 billion over the next several years just to keep output steady is also telling reports mining.com. Out of the ten biggest in the world, Polish KGHM have a strong market presence.
KGHM operates three underground copper-silver mines and remaining mine life, Lubin (45 years), Runa (31 years) and Polkowice-Sieroszowice (40 years), three smelter and refineries and a copper wire rod plant in close proximity to Lubin, southwestern Poland. The three mines produced 420.4kt of copper, 44.304 Moz silver, and 82.8koz gold in 2014 from the Kupferschiefer ore which makes it the fourth largest copper mining operation worldwide and the first non-Chilean mine. Other commodities mined include rock salt, molybdenum, nickel, rhenium, lead, and platinum. C1 copper cash cost in 2014 was US$1.82/lb placing KGHM between the third and fourth quartiles on the global cost curve. The average weighted global C1 cost of metal production for 2014 was US$ 1.55/lb based on Wood Mackenzie data. KGHM attributes unfavourable exchange rates in the first half of 2014 and the new mineral extraction tax implemented in 2012 as major reasons for recent C1 cash cost increases. KGHM is the eighth largest copper producer and the largest silver producer in the world. A new project called “Deep Glogow” began producing for the first time in April 2014 with production coming from below 1200m. The project contains 265.5 Mt grading 1.66% copper and 54 ppm silver with a mine life of 40 years. Infrastructure from the Rudna and Polkowice-Sieroszowice mines is used to access Deep Glagow. Total reserves of all of KGHM Operations are 17.48Mt copper and 52.4 million kg of silver.