February 23, 2023

High-Purity Copper Refining Market Assessment

Stratas Advisors


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Batteries and renewable energy systems typically require high-purity copper (>99.99% purity) produced from the electrorefining of smelted copper matte; while high-purity copper may be produced from different deposit types, copper sulfide ores are typically preferred over oxide ores as they tend to have a higher copper content. In batteries, high-purity copper is used in both the anode and the cathode in the form of copper foil and copper current collector coating, respectively, as well as in busbars and wiring systems. High-purity copper is also a key material for wind and solar energy systems, where it is deployed not only in electrical cabling but also in wind turbine generators and photovoltaic (PV) connectors and inverters.
While Chile and Peru remain leaders in mined supply of copper, in recent years China has been growing exponentially to absorb increasing volumes of refined copper production in general, and of high-purity refined copper in particular – although the copper refining market currently shows much higher levels of geographical fragmentation than other segments of the global EV and cleantech supply chains. In 2022, Chinese supply accounted for over 28% of total high-purity copper supply, with Chile as the world’s second-largest producer at a market share of 14%. Unlike other segments, Europe and North America are also well positioned in global high-purity copper refining, representing over 10% of total global supply respectively. Over the outlook to 2030, capacity additions remain marginal, with new players producing a negligible share of global supply. Chinese domestic production registers the strongest growth to supply over half of total global volumes by 2030.



This report is part of a series covering all segments of the EV and cleantech supply chain, and contains strategic insights on growth projections and production trends across major markets and 50+ players, outlining key investments which help shape estimates on annual supply through 2030.

Key takeaways:

  • Global supply of high-purity refined copper grows at a CAGR of 9% from 2022 to 2030, with the bulk of growth originating from China and Chinese-owned assets in Africa and Asia Pacific

  • China strengthens its market position to supply over 55% of global high-purity refined copper volumes by 2030, significantly shrinking the current 72% share supplied currently by the rest of the world

  • The top producer of high-purity refined copper retains its market dominance, though China’s top copper producers register the strongest growth overall

  • The penetration of smaller and new participants remains negligible as investment in new capacity remains extremely weak


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Subscribers can access the full report from Stratas Advisors' CleanTech and Battery Supply Chain service.

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