Copper | BHP
Copper

Copper

Copper is essential to life and our modern society.

What is copper?

 

Copper is a pinkish-orange metal. It’s an excellent conductor of electricity and is used in a broad range of everyday household products. Copper is also corrosion resistant and antimicrobial, meaning it prevents the growth of bacteria.

Where is copper used?

Construction

Copper is commonly used across both residential and industrial construction.

Infrastructure

It is used throughout infrastructure, including power grids and traffic lights.

Transportation

Copper is used in cars, aircraft and trains.

Household products

Household consumer products like air conditioners, refrigerators, TVS and microwaves all contain copper.

Smartphones

Your smartphone typically contains 15-20g of copper.

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Power sector

Copper is used by the power sector in distribution lines, generators and transformers.

Why does BHP mine copper?

We believe the demand for copper will grow due to grade declines at existing copper mines, the radical urbanisation of large populations in China and India and the electrification of energy and transportation. Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, also require copper for their infrastructure.
1.7mWe produced 1.7m tonnes of copper in 2020.
50We are extending the life of our Spence mine in Chile by 50 years.
x2Copper demand will likely double over the next 30 years.

Where is copper found?

 

Copper is found all over the world. We own and operate several copper mines in Chile, Olympic Dam in South Australia, and a proposed mine located in Arizona, US.

How is copper mined?

 

There are two way to mine copper, depending on where the ore body is located.

In our Escondida mine in Chile, the copper is relatively close to the surface to is mined via open cut. The process looks like this:

 

 

At Olympic Dam in South Australia, we operate an underground mine because the ore body is located much deeper below the earth's surface. Therefore mining follows this method: