Sustainable Development of the Chinese Copper Market

By Fushan Shang, Bo Zhao, Shaofu Duan, Zunbo Zhou on March 16, 2011

With the rapid growth of the Chinese economy over the past decade, the demand for various raw materials, including copper, also has been increasing at a rapid pace.

Chinese refined copper production reached 3.79 million tonnes in 2008, 2.8 times that of its production in 2000, and accounts for 20.5 per cent of total world output (18.48 million tonnes); as a result, China is now the largest refined copper producer in the world. Chinese consumption of refined copper in 2008 was 5.2 million tonnes, 2.6 times that of its consumption in 2000, accounting for 28.8 per cent of the world's total (18.02 million tonnes); China has also been the world's largest copper consumer for seven consecutive years. For more than ten years, China has experienced faster growth in copper production and consumption than all other countries. The rapid growth in production and consumption also has resulted in a series of challenges for the Chinese economy, including the depletion of Chinese copper reserves, increased imbalances in the Chinese industrial structure, and growing stresses on the international trading system. This analysis provides a basis for a more strategic development of the Chinese copper industry, in accordance with the basic principles of sustainable development. The purpose of the paper is to provide a reference for government authorities to draft macroeconomic policies to apply the model of economic growth and promote not only a rapid but a socially and environmentally sustainable development of the Chinese copper industry.

Report details

Standards and Value Chains
Focus area
SECO, 2011