Mining Publication: The Availability of Primary Copper in Market Economy Countries: A Minerals Availability Appraisal
The U.S. Bureau of Mines has estimated the potential availability of copper from 204 mines and deposits in market economy countries (MEC's). The evaluated properties have demonstrated resources totaling 436.4 million metric tons of contained copper and account for 90 pct of the Bureau of Mines reserve base for copper in market economy countries. Total recoverable MEC copper resources are 340.8 million metric tons, 69 pct of which is from producing mines and 31 pct from nonproducing mines and deposits. Chile had the lowest estimated average total cost from producing mines of $0.48 per pound of recoverable copper at a 0-pct discounted cash-flow rate of return (DCFROR), with estimated average total costs ranging from $0.40 To $0.81 per pound. The estimated average total cost of production, per pound of copper, for producing mines in the United States amounts to $0.57 In January 1988 dollars at a 0-pct DCFROR with estimated total costs ranging from $0.36 To $0.85 Per pound. In both real and nominal terms, the United States has, on average, significantly lowered its copper production costs since 1981. Rationalization of the industry and significant increases in productivity have made a strong improvement in the competitiveness of the U.S. copper industry to the extent that the United States should no longer be considered as a marginal producer of copper.