A recent World Bank paper on the long term outlook for copper :
Global demand for copper is expected to remain strong. Long-term forecasts are by nature uncertain, but global demand for copper is expected to grow at around 3 percent annually, reaching 25 million tonnes by 2020. Much of the increase in demand will be driven by economic growth and urbanization in emerging economies, especially China and India.Limited global supply should support high (but volatile) prices and continued investment. Global supply of copper from known sources is expected to peak at 20 million tonnes by 2013/14 and decline thereafter, resulting in a shortfall in supply. As a result, copper prices are expected to remain high in real terms, though they will be subject to cyclical fluctuations and periodic, short term volatility. To meet the shortfall in supply and to take advantage of high prices, the global mining industry is looking to increase investment in copper mining and refining.
Good mineral potential, combined with strong demand in the global market, provide an excellent opportunity for growth in Zambia’s copper mining industry. Assuming other conditions are right (e.g. Zambia’s mines are competitive in terms of costs and productivity levels), Zambia can capitalize on its mineral potential as well as the strong demand for copper in the global market.
The problem of course is that it is not Zambia which is capitalising on this mineral potential, its mining companies which are already earning well over $6bn per annum while Zambia gets a paltry less than $100m thanks to low mining taxation and rampant tax evasion. We tackle these issues in our monthly essay - Debunking the Government's Case for Low Mining Taxation in Zambia.