May 17, 2020

[Report] EMEA Miners Feel Pressure of Economic and Political Trends

Standard & Poor Ratings Service
Standard & Poor
European M
2 min
Steel volumes are set to rise although profit margins remain tight
Mining companies across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) are feeling the pressure of economic and political forces, according to a report whic...

Mining companies across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) are feeling the pressure of economic and political forces, according to a report which reveals a lack of confidence in credit quality. 

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said in its report, EMEA Metals And Mining Companies Are Under Pressure As Chinese Growth Decelerates, that steelmakers in the region are struggling to improve margins by a significant amount. It does however expect steel volumes to recover by around three percent following declines of 11 percent over a period of two years.

On top of this mining companies are also beginning to feel the strain of a moderate deceleration in Chinese growth, according to Standard & Poor's credit analyst Andrey Nikolaev, who said that this has combined with an increasing supply of bulk commodities to spark a fall in price for iron ore and coal.

The report also cited the increasing political uproar in Ukraine, which has seen the annexation of Crimea by Russia and a number of separatist uprisings in the east of the country. Recently Russian gas giant Gazprom cut off its supply to its neighbour country.

There were some positive signs despite the headline unease. The report points to a resistance of copper prices to a downward slide and a surge in nickel prices because of an export ban from Indonesia.

Capital spending is also trending downward, meaning that free cash flow should improve next year.

More details can be found here: 

Share article

May 14, 2021

Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%

First Quantum
2 min
Following a marginal slump in copper production due to COVID-19, output from top ten companies set to rise up to 3.8% in 2021 reveals GlobalData analysis

Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).


The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. 

First Quantum

The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.



Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.

Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.” 

Freeport McMoRan

Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.

Electric Vehicles

The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic. 



Share article