The global market for base metal mining is characterized by a markedly high level of consolidation, with Glencore Plc. solely accounting for over 68% of the global market in 2014, states a report by Transparency Market Research. Other major vendors in the market, comprising BHP Billiton Limited, Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., Antofagasta PLC, CODELCO, and Alcoa Inc., cumulatively accounted for nearly 18% of the market in the same year.
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The market features a low degree of competition but has high exit barriers for manufacturers owing to investment and contract commitments. The capital intensive nature of base metal mining facilities has mitigated the threat of new entrants to a substantial degree, reason why only a few companies hold a majority of share of the market. Acquiring major mining companies in emerging economies can help companies in the base metal mining market achieve substantial traction and expansion across these regions, which are among the most promising investment hubs for the base metal industry.
Infrastructure Development Activities to be Key Enabler of Growth
Global estimates entail that nearly 40% of the world economy is directly or indirectly affected by the mining industry. Consistent supply of base metals such as copper, zinc, nickel, aluminum, and tin is central to the development of sectors such as infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, transportation, equipment, and utilities. Flourishing growth across these sectors in the past few years, especially in developing regions such as Asia Pacific, is the major demand driver of base metals in the global market.
The European Union has significantly increased its investment aimed at the development of the region’s energy infrastructure, to make it more complaint with renewable energy sources, in the past few years. Transportation, construction, and equipment industries, which are some of the principal consumers of a number of base metals, are also expanding at a plausible rate across the globe.
These factors are collectively leading to the increased consumption of base metals and are expected to remain the key drivers of the global base metal mining market in the next few years. However, issues such as resource nationalism and the requirement of social license to operate in resource-rich regions will pose difficulties for companies operating in the global base metal mining market in the years to come.
Asia Pacific to Dominate Global Consumption
Asia Pacific holds a prominent position in the global market for base metal mining. The region is the largest consumer of base metals on account of the excellent development across the industrial and manufacturing sectors, especially in countries like India and China. The region accounted for a share of nearly 63% in the global base metal mining market in 2014 and is expected to strengthen its position further in the years to come as well.
In the Asia Pacific base metal mining market, China held a share of nearly 45% in the market and is expected to expand at a favorable 7% CAGR from 2015 to 2023. In India, the market will exhibit a 6.49% CAGR over the same period and emerge as another prominent consumer for base metals, next to Australia. Infrastructure development activities in India will require increased volumes of base metals in the next few years, driving the base metals mining market.
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On a whole, the global base metal mining market is expected to expand at a 5.01% CAGR from 2015 to 2023, in terms of volume, and rise from 103.33 MMT in 2014 to 160.19 MMT by 2023.
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