New data shows $1.1 trillion of mining projects planned around the world

A combined total of US$1.1 trillion of mining projects are currently under active planning, engineering and construction, according to new data gathered by global market intelligence provider Industrial Info Resources (IIR).

The total figure is comprised of 4,790 metals and minerals capital projects (including mining, processing and refining) currently under construction, with a combined investment value of $443 billion, and a further 10,586 projects under active planning and engineering.

VP of Research at IIR Joe Govreau said the total figure is an 8% increase on the preceding period, which is based on projects delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic being restarted.

The top seven global miners have now upped capital outlays by more than 50% from the depths of the industry downturn in 2017, Govreau noted. “[I see] no reason why expenditures won’t continue to be elevated for the next several years or more as companies look to increase production to meet expected demand growth from the energy transition.”

With regards to the energy transition, a closer look at the data shows that globally more money is being spent on projects for the fossil fuel coal than copper – which is widely regarded as one of the most important metals for the transition, owing to its usage in renewable energy facilities and electric vehicles.

IRR’s data shows that coal has a pipeline of 1,863 projects around the globe with a value of $80.8 billion, meanwhile copper has only 708 active copper projects with construction starting in 2022-23 globally. The combined value of these projects, which includes mining, processing and smelting, is $68.5 billion.