Copper will need to rise 50% further from its current near record high to encourage enough new mined supply to meet rampant demand, according to Ivan Glasenberg, the billionaire chief executive officer of Glencore Plc.
Copper topped $10 000 a metric ton last week for the first time in a decade and has been among the best performers in a scorching surge in metals prices. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, the global economic recovery from Covid-19 and concerns about long term supply.
That means miners will have to go to more difficult jurisdictions such as Russia and parts of the copper belt in central Africa to find new mines, and that will need higher prices to offset the risk, Glasenberg said at the FT’s Global Boardroom summit on Thursday.
“We don’t have many shovel-ready projects,” Glasenberg said. “You will need higher prices. You will need the so-called $15 000 copper price to encourage a lot of this more difficult investment.”
The largest miners have been universally bullish on copper, holding a long-term view that usage in cities and electric vehicles will expand demand, while new supplies of the metal are constrained. Yet, there are a few major mines in development, and none on the scale required to meet forecasts for future demand.