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Closing the Mining Gap

In truth, what the industry’s leaders need to ask is whether Asia in general and China in particular, will soon be able to supply most of its own commodity requirements. According to IntierraRMG’s database, Asian production (of which China is by far the largest constituent) now accounts for over 61 % of the world’s coal output (which amounted to 7695 Mt last year), compared with a share of only 44 % ten years ago (when global production was 4850 Mt). Asia last year accounted for 31 % of the world’s iron-ore output (1980 Mt, which was twice the amount produced globally in 2002, when Asia’s share was barely 23 %). Asia now captures almost one-third of the world’s bauxite output, compared with barely 19 % in 2002. The continent achieved 26 % of global gold production last year (2570 t), compared with 21 % of the similar total gold production in 2002. In contrast, Asia’s share of copper production has slipped slightly over the past 10 years. The region accounted for just 19 % of last year’s global 16,3 Mt, compared with almost 20 % of the 13,6 Mt in 2002. (9/2012)

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