The mining industry contributes significantly toward the economic and industrial growth of a nation. Major mining metals include lead, copper, tin, zinc, nickel, cobalt, and aluminum. Gold, platinum, palladium, and silver are among the precious mining metals. The global mining metals market has been among the fastest growing. However, in recent years, the market has witnessed slow growth due to the economic slowdown across nations.
Iron ore, gold, copper, and nickel are the most important investment targets for mining companies as these premium metals are expected to play a pivotal role in future projects. It has been observed that mining companies are increasingly exploring the benefits of vertical integration to control the entire value chain of the market. Market players are focusing on every phase of the value chain, right from mining to production. However, to control the value chain, mining companies need to control operating costs as well as commodity prices.
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The global mining metals market is highly dependent on the economic growth of nations. As a nation’s economy grows, investments increase in the infrastructure sector, thereby fuelling the demand for mining metals. Oversupply and low demand for mining metals leads to significant fall in their prices. For example, the economic slowdown in China has led to drastic reduction in the prices of mining metals, especially copper. With China’s economy slowing down, investments in the energy and mining sectors have reduced. Ongoing projects in these sectors have been stalled. As a result, the demand for mining metals has reduced significantly. This has created a negative impact on the overall growth of the global mining metals market. Falling oil prices since 2015 have also hampered the growth of the market. Consequently, 2015 has been termed as one of the worst years for the global mining metals market.
A rise in labor costs has led market players to cut down their workforce. This has resulted in labor unrest across various locations in the recent years. Market players are also facing increased regulatory compliance costs due to the implementation of new taxes. The global mining metals market is expected to witness significant demand from the equipment industry.
The global mining metals market has been segmented into four key regions: Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, and Rest of the World. Asia Pacific has been the major region in the market due to the growing demand from emerging economies such as China, Indonesia, Australia, and India. In the last couple of years, the region has witnessed increased investments in the mining sector with market players expanding their production capacities and exploring new mining sites. The rapid growth of economy in China and India has created favorable opportunities for the growth of the market. In fact, China is now playing a major role in the growth of the market. It is the largest importer of copper and imports around 45% of the total copper mined across the globe.
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Some of the prominent players in the global mining metals market are Rio Tinto (Australia/the U.K.), BHP Billiton (Australia/the U.K.), China Shenhua Energy (China), Vale (Brazil), and Glencore Xstrata (the U.K.). Currently, the key players are struggling to maintain their profit levels with the market suffering from oversupply and weak demand for mining metals. Prices of mining metals are falling below the cost of production across many mining projects by the key players.
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