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Companies in this industry develop mine sites, mine and quarry copper and nickel, and prepare copper and nickel for sale. Major companies include Freeport-McMoRan (based in the US), Codelco (Chile), Grupo México (Mexico), Jiangxi Copper (China), Norilsk Nickel (Russia), and Vale Limited (Canada).
Worldwide, copper production totals about 18.7 million metric tons, including about 1.2 million from the US. Global nickel production totals about 2.5 million metric tons; US production is minor. Copper ore production is concentrated in Chile, China, Peru, and the US. The largest nickel ore producers are the Philippines, Russia, Canada, and Australia.
The US copper and nickel mining industry includes about 25 companies with combined annual revenue of about $8 billion.
Demand is driven by industrial production and economic growth. Individual company profitability depends on operating efficiency. Large companies have more resources to devote to discovering and developing new deposits. Small companies typically own just one mine, limit exploration to that one property, and aim to operate it as efficiently as possible.
The US is a net exporter of copper and nickel ore. Exports, mainly to Mexico, account for about 40% of US production. Imports only account for about 2% of the US market.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Copper and nickel are often used for construction and industrial purposes, to produce various kinds of equipment and vehicles. About 45% of US copper is used in building construction. About 45% of US nickel ...
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