ASX Copper Stocks: Top 10 to Watch in 2023
There are several ASX copper stocks that help investors gain exposure to one of the world's most consumed metals. As a key component of solar and wind energy systems, future demand is expected to grow.
- ASX copper stocks offer a mix of companies that vary in terms of market cap, whether they are only producing copper or additional metals, and the stage of their copper projects.
- Copper prices and levels of copper production tend to be related to general economic activity.
- There are concerns about the sustainability of the future supply from the current pipeline of copper projects and copper mines.
Is it good to invest in copper now?
As seen with the relatively volatile performance of many commodities, the copper price tends to fluctuate over the short term. The movements of 'Dr. Copper' is often said to be related to general levels of economic activity due to its uses across various sectors. This will likely impact the stock market returns for many copper miners, but there are multiple factors that will determine the fate of a specific company. For example, whether the firm can achieve its goals in the expected timeframe could make it more attractive to investors.
The ASX stocks that predominantly produce copper are likely to be more exposed to changes in the red metal’s price compared to more diversified miners. Many see its longer term outlook as very positive, as copper’s characteristics of high conductivity and ductility mean it’s most often used as wiring. As the growth of renewables and EVs will require more electrical components, these trends could drive the demand for copper significantly higher in the future.
Top 10 copper stocks on ASX
Year to Date
Aeris Resources Ltd
Hot Chili Limited
Austral Resources Australia Ltd
Cyprium Metals Limited
Peel Mining Limited
Data as at 11 May 2023
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Discover the copper companies on the ASX
1. Sandfire Resources ($SFR)
Market capitalisation: $2.97b
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $6.50
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 39% / 61%
Sandfire Resources is one of the largest pure-play ASX copper stocks. They experienced significant success with their discoveries at the earlier DeGrussa and Monty Copper Gold Mines in Western Australia. The company is currently focused on the three underground mines at their MATSA Copper Operations in Spain and developing the Motheo asset in Botswana's Kalahari Copper Belt. Sandfires hopes these new assets and other potential growth opportunities will help them recover their position as one the ASX's top copper producers.
2. Aeris Resources Limited ($AIS)
Market capitalisation: $335.04m
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $0.49
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 49% / 51%
Copper is the main product from Aeris Resources' four operational mining assets in Australia. Their flagship copper producer is the Tritton Operations in the Cobar region of Central New South Wales. In November 2022 they acquired additional copper operations in North Queensland. Aeris Resources is also mining the gold deposits at their Cracow Operations in Queensland and produces zinc, copper and silver from its Jaguar Project in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia. The team's developing another copper and zinc project in Victoria named Stockman.
3. AIC Mines Limited ($A1M)
Market capitalisation: $168.71m
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $0.18
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 89% / 11%
AIC Mines plans to build a portfolio of gold and copper projects throughout Australia. They operate the underground Eloise Copper Mine around 155 km from Mount Isa in northern Queensland. The Eloise Mine has produced 339,000 tonnes of copper and 167,000 tonnes of gold over its mine life since 1996. AIC has two exploration stage assets in Western Australia, Marymia and Lamil. Marymia is in close proximity to Sandfire's old DeGrussa Copper Mine and Lamil lies immediately west of Newcrest's ($NCM) Telfer Gold-Copper Mine.
4. 29Metals Limited ($29M)
Market capitalisation: $551.72m
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $1.14
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 60% / 40%
29Metals operates the multi-commodity Golden Grove Mine in Western Australia. They are working on extending the mine life of the high-grade copper, zinc and precious metals project to over ten years. The firm also operates the copper and silver from Capricorn Copper in Queensland, which has ore reserves of over 16 million tonnes. There are studies underway to assess whether cobalt could also be recovered from the site. The Redhill Project could add to their collection of copper mines, as the team believes these landholdings in Chile potentially hold copper, silver and gold deposits.
5. Rio Tinto Limited ($RIO)
Market capitalisation: $154.37b
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $109.01
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 50% / 50%
The multinational mining company Rio Tinto operates in more than 35 countries across the globe. The company produces a variety of metals and minerals, including aluminium, copper, diamond, gold, and iron ore. Copper was one of the main products at its founding in 1873 and a significant part of its future as of the top global copper producers by volume. They plan on expanding operations at their large Kennecott Mine in Utah and are working on progressing the Resolution Copper Project in Arizona in the U.S. Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia asset could become the world's fourth largest copper mine when the underground section is complete.
🆚Compare RIO vs BHP stock comparison→
6. BHP Group Limited ($BHP)
Market capitalisation: $222.90b
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $44.00
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 49% / 51%
BHP has grown to become one of the world's largest producers of iron ore, copper, nickel, potash and metallurgical coal. The diversified metals company operates across Australia, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia. This is another large cap option and its various commodities mean its stock performance is not purely correlated to copper prices. BHP's takeover of ASX copper miner OZ Minerals indicates the firm expects demand for the metal to grow due to its role in the energy transition. They are now owners of the large copper mine at Prominent Hill in South Australia.
💡Related: ASX Iron Ore Stocks to Watch→
7. Hot Chili Limited ($HCH)
Market capitalisation: $123.63m
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $1.04
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 66% / 34%
Hot Chili is advancing its Costa Fuego Copper Project towards production. The asset is located at a low elevation near the coast in northern Chile, the world's largest copper producing country. The team intends to develop three deposits in close proximity to each other as part of one mining hub. They are known as Cortadera, Productora, and El Fuego. The Project is estimated to contain 2.8 million tonnes of copper, 2.6 million ounces of gold and molybdenum could potentially be extracted as a byproduct. The team's working on studies to establish the mine plans, increase the resources and extend the mine life to over 20 years.
8. Austral Resources Australia Ltd ($AR1)
Market capitalisation: $93.89m
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $0.28
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 40% / 60%
Austral Resources purchased several copper assets and a processing facility in 2019. The copper materials produced from the Lady Annie, Lady Brenda, Mount Clarke and Flying Horse Projects amount to around 30 kilo tonnes together per year. The team worked to increase efficiencies and optimise operations at these mines in the Mount Isa region of Queensland. They also brought the nearby Anthill Mine into production in mid-2022 to increase their total copper volumes. Austral produces copper that meets the standards of the London Metals Exchange Grade "A" and can be sold directly to exchange instead of through private contracts.
9. Cyprium Metals Limited ($CYM)
Market capitalisation: $80.32m
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $0.11
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 49% / 51%
Cyprium Metals holds a number of mining assets in the Murchison and Paterson regions of Western Australia. They acquired the Nifty Copper Mine in March 2021 and are currently working on studies on how to re-start operations for long-term production. The asset benefits from having existing mine infrastructure and a processing facility. The team's also exploring the Maroochydore deposit that's located around 85 km south east of Nifty, which they believe also contains copper. Cyprium has entered an agreement with nickel miner IGO Limited ($IGO) for a stake in the Paterson Exploration Project. They hold additional interests in early stage copper and gold projects.
10. Peel Mining Limited ($PEX)
Market capitalisation: $72.35m
Stock price (as of 11/05/2023): $0.13
Stake platform bought / sold (1 Jan 2023 - 11 May 2023): 81% / 19%
Peel Mining is an exploration company with a focus on copper. They've been completing studies in the southern parts of the Cobar Basin in New South Wales since 2010. The team established the South Cobar Project, which is made up of four deposits - Mallee Bull, Wirlong, Southern Nights-Wagga Tank and May Day. They are estimated to contain 216 kilotonnes of copper, 322 kilotonnes of zinc, 151 kilotonnes of lead, as well as silver and gold. They are working on further studies to establish details about potential project plans and towards acquiring the required permits for progression.
What is copper used for?
Copper is mainly used as wiring in electronics and electrical equipment, the building and construction industry, as well as industrial machinery and equipment. The ‘metal of electrification’ is expected to play an important role in the energy transition. Renewable energy systems need over 12 times the amount of copper compared to fossil fuel-based systems, and most EV’s require two to three times more copper than internal combustion engine cars. S&P Global forecasts that copper demand could double by 2035.
There are concerns about the future levels of copper supply because many new projects have been delayed, new deposits are becoming harder to find and more expensive to develop due to lower average grades of copper. Analysis from S&P Global reveals that a market deficit could emerge as early as 2025 and grow to the end of the decade. Recycling amounted to roughly 17% of global refined copper supply in 2022, but is not expected to be enough to cover forecasted demand growth.
Copper stocks FAQs
Who is the biggest copper producer in Australia?
Australia's largest copper mine is BHP's Olympic Dam operation in South Australia. The project also extracts some gold and uranium. Oz Minerals was considered as another top copper producer and BHP's acquisition of its assets like Prominent Hill means the mining giant has likely established itself as the most significant copper producer in Australia.
How can I invest in copper stocks in Australia?
There are several ASX-listed copper stocks and ETFs available to Australian investors. These can be bought and sold through a brokerage platform the same way as any other ASX shares. To start investing in ASX copper shares, follow these steps:
- Download Stake & sign up in minutes
- Deposit funds and they will arrive in minutes
- Find the copper share by name or ticker symbol. Do your own research to ensure it is the right investment product for your own circumstances.
- Place an order and monitor your investment
Is there a copper ETF on the ASX?
The Global X Copper Miners ETF ($WIRE) provides exposure to firms across the copper value chain. These are predominantly copper mining companies listed on overseas exchanges such as First Quantum, Southern Copper and Antofagasta.
For those investors interested in all the metals used in clean energy infrastructure and technologies, the Global X Green Metal Miners ETF ($GMTL) covers lithium, nickel and cobalt firms, alongside the copper options. The BetaShares Energy Transition Metals ETF ($XMET) allows a similar kind of exposure to those involved with producing, processing and recycling commodities used in the shift to renewables.
How much does copper cost?
Copper is one of the world's most commonly traded metals, with contracts and futures available on several exchanges. Major markets include the London Metal Exchange (LME), China's COMEX and on the Multi-Commodity Exchange in India.
The copper price was US$3.85 per pound as of 11 May 2023. It's ranged between US$4.55 and US$3.23 per pound over the past year. Considering price data since 1960, the copper price had lows of US$0.27 in January 1961 and exceeded the highs of the previous commodity cycle in the early 2010s to reach a high of US$4.94 in February 2022.
This does not constitute financial product advice nor a recommendation to invest in the securities listed. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. As always, do your own research and consider seeking appropriate financial or taxation advice before investing.
Megan is a markets analyst at Stake, with 7 years of experience in the world of investing and a Master’s degree in Business and Economics from The University of Sydney Business School. Megan has extensive knowledge of the UK markets, working as an analyst at ARCH Emerging Markets - a UK investment advisory platform focused on private equity. Previously she also worked as an analyst at Australian robo advisor Stockspot, where she researched ASX listed equities and helped construct the company's portfolios.