15 Best Copper Stocks To Buy in 2022

Global green initiatives are driving up demand for copper. Needed for EV batteries and electric cars, the metal is also used in wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, and geothermal energy. Learn how you can invest in copper stocks.

SustainFi   Updated March 28th, 2022

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Is copper a good investment?

Copper is a pinkish-orange metal great for conducting electricity. In fact, it conducts electric current better than any metal except the much more expensive silver. According to the International Copper Association, over 70% of copper is used to deliver electricity.

Corrosion-resistant and antimicrobial, copper is used in construction, transmission lines, cell phones, and cars, including electric vehicles. In fact, EVs use four to five times as much copper as cars with an internal combustion engine. An EV contains about 80kg (176 lbs) of copper compared to 20kg (44 lbs) in a petrol-fueled car. On top of that, copper can be recycled and reused.

Copper prices have doubled since the pandemic low

Copper prices have risen from under $5,000 per ton in March 2020 to over $10,000 in March 2022. However, some industry insiders believe that the rally is far from over. For example, the head of the mining giant Glencore said that copper prices need to rise another 50%, to $15,000 a ton, to encourage the investment needed for the clean energy transition.

Source: London Metal Exchange

Copper demand is projected to grow

To decarbonize, the world will require a lot of copper. Renewable energy projects like wind, solar, and geothermal need copper for solar panels, wind turbines, and transmission lines. Electric vehicles also use a lot of copper.

BHP Group, a diversified mining company, believes that copper demand will double in the next 30 years. And the International Energy Agency says that the market for “green” minerals like copper and cobalt will need to grow 7x over the next decade to get the world to net zero carbon by 2050.

The green revolution aside, continued urbanization in China and India should also contribute to growing demand. Copper is key to residential and commercial construction, after all.

Copper supply is limited

While demand is projected to surge, supply is constrained. For years, big miners have underinvested in copper projects. Finding new sources of supply in safer countries is getting harder, and developing one mine can take ten years, even with all the approvals. As a result, many analysts, including Goldman Sachs, expect a copper shortfall this decade.

What are the best copper stocks?

Chile is the largest producer of copper, and the state-owned miner CODELCO is the largest copper miner in the world. Although you can’t invest in CODELCO, other top producers of copper, including mining giants like BHP and Glencore, have publicly listed stocks. Here is the list of the copper stocks you can invest in:

Copper stocks list

  • BHP Group (BHP)
  • Glencore (GLNCY)
  • Southern Copper Corporation (SCCO)
  • Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX)
  • First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF)
  • Rio Tinto (RIO)
  • Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ)
  • Boliden AB (BOLIF)
  • Teck Resources (TECK)
  • OZ Minerals (OZMLF)
  • Zijin Mining Group (ZIJMF)
  • Copper Mountain Mining Corp (CPPMF)
  • Ero Copper Corp (ERO)
  • Capstone Copper Corp (TSE: CS)
  • Solaris Resources (SLSSF)

Learn more about each company on the list.

1. BHP Group (BHP)

  • Market capitalization: $189 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 25%

One of the world’s largest copper producers, the mining giant BHP Group produced 1.7 million tons of copper in 2020. BHP operates the world’s largest copper mine in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Besides several mines in Chile and one in Australia, BHP owns 45% of a large undeveloped copper project in Arizona. (The remaining 55% is owned by Rio Tinto.) It has also bought a stake in SolGold, a company developing a large copper deposit in Ecuador.

The Australian firm also mines iron ore, nickel, and other metals. Although BHP is diversified, copper, representing a quarter of the Group’s sales, is the second-largest revenue and profitability driver after iron ore. BHP has also announced that it’s exiting its coal and oil and gas businesses, making it more attractive to green and ESG-focused investors.

2. Glencore (GLNCY)

  • Market capitalization: 66 billion GBP
  • Year-to-date return: 30%

Swiss mining giant Glencore produced 1.3 million tons of copper in 2020. It mines copper in Africa, Australia, and South America and sources and recycles copper scrap in North America and Asia. Key assets include the Katanga and Mutanda mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ernest Henry and Mount Isa in Australia, and several mines in Chile and Peru. Glencore is also one of the world’s leading producers of cobalt. Cobalt, another undersupplied green metal, is a by-product of Glencore’s copper mining in the DRC. In addition to copper and cobalt, Glencore mines nickel, zinc, lead, and other metals and minerals. However, copper was nearly 40% of the group’s EBITDA in 2020.

3. Southern Copper Corporation (SCCO)

  • Market capitalization: $60 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 23%

One of the world’s top copper producers, Southern Copper Corporation mines copper in Mexico and Peru. It produced 1 million tons in 2020. According to company materials, Southern Copper is the world’s largest copper company by reserves. And unlike many other miners, Southern Copper gets 84% of its revenues from copper. (It also produces molybdenum, zinc, and silver.)

Southern Copper is investing in its mines and expects production to grow to 1.8 million tons by 2029, an 80% increase. Although the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, most of it is owned by Grupo Mexico Mineria, a Mexican conglomerate with interests in mining, transportation, and infrastructure.

4. Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX)

  • Market capitalization: $72 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 20%

Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan (“Freeport”) is an American mining company with large reserves of copper, gold, and molybdenum. One of the world’s largest publicly traded copper stocks, Freeport produced over 1.45 million tons of copper in 2020.

Copper accounts for 80% of Freeport’s revenues. The company operates copper mines in North America, Chile, Peru, and the Grasberg minerals district in Papua, Indonesia. The Grasberg district is one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits. Freeport owns a 48.76% interest in PT-FI, the Indonesian mining subsidiary, and manages its operations. PT-FI expanded production in the Grasberg mine in 2019.

5. First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF)

  • Market capitalization: 29 billion CAD
  • Year-to-date return: 46%

Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals (“First Quantum”) is one of the world’s top ten copper producers. In 2020, First Quantum produced 779,000 tons of copper from its mines, particularly Cobre Panama in Panama and Kanshanshi in Zambia. According to the company, Cobre Panama is the only major source of copper to be commissioned over the past decade. Although First Quantum also holds material gold and nickel interests, copper was around 84% of its 2020 revenues.

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6. Rio Tinto (RIO)

  • Market capitalization: $128 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 18%

A U.K.-based diversified mining company, Rio Tinto produces iron ore, copper, aluminum, lithium, diamonds, salt, and titanium dioxide. Although Rio Tinto gets three-quarters of its EBITDA from iron ore, it mines about 500,000 tons of copper annually, and the copper business is about 12% of its sales. Rio Tinto’s first copper mine was on the banks of the Rio Tinto River in Spain. Today, Rio Tinto’s copper mines include Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia, which is one of the world’s largest copper deposits, and the Kennecott mine near Salt Lake City in Utah. And, along with BHP, Rio Tinto seeks to develop the huge Resolution Copper Project near Phoenix, Arizona.

The Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the Gobi Desert is one of Rio Tinto’s crown jewels. (It is owned through Rio Tinto’s subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.) Rio Tinto is currently expanding the underground operations at the mine. When finished, the mine should produce 500,000 tons of copper each year. Although the project has been running late, production should start in 2023. (If you want to invest in this project directly, look at Turquoise Hill Resources, described below.) Once the mine’s expansion is done, Rio Tinto’s copper production will increase materially, reducing its reliance on iron ore.

7. Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ)

  • Market capitalization: $6.0 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 83%

The Rio Tinto subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd is a New York Stock Exchange-listed mining company that owns 66% of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia. The Mongolian government owns the remaining 34%. Although relations with Mongolia have not always been smooth, Turquoise Hill is currently expanding the mine into one of the world’s largest copper mines. In 2020, the company produced 150,000 tons of copper, but the Oyu Tolgoi can produce as much as 500,000 tons once the expansion is complete.

8. Boliden AB (BOLIF)

  • Market capitalization: 134 billion SEK
  • Year-to-date return: 12%

Stockholm, Sweden-based Boliden AB is a metals and mining company with interests in zinc, copper, nickel, lead, and precious metals. In 2020, Boliden produced 372,000 tons of copper from its mines in Sweden and Finland. Copper is around 35% of the company’s sales. Boliden is also committed to developing low-carbon copper, with its carbon footprint verified by a third party. The first volumes have already been delivered to customers.

9. Teck Resources (NYSE: TECK)

  • Market capitalization: $22 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 35%

One of Canada’s leading miners, Teck Resources produces copper, zinc, steelmaking coal, and oil. In 2020, Teck mined 276,000 tons of copper from four mines located in Canada, Peru, and Chile. The copper segment generated 27% of 2020 sales and 44% of profits. The company has 33 million tons of copper in proven and probable reserves. However, the coal and Canadian oil sands businesses dampen the stock’s appeal to sustainable or ESG investors.

10. OZ Minerals Ltd (OZMLF)

  • Market capitalization: 9.1 billion AUD
  • Year-to-date return: -6%

Based in Adelaide, Australia, Oz Minerals Ltd. (“Oz”) mines copper and gold. Oz operates three copper mines in Australia and a copper-gold hub in Brazil and conducts exploration activities internationally. In 2020, the company produced 97,620 tons of copper, guiding to 120,000-145,000 tons in 2021. So far, production is tracking along with guidance. The company reported 2.1 billion AUD in 2021 revenue.

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11. Zijin Mining Group (ZIJMF)

  • Market capitalization: 362 billion HKD
  • Year-to-date return: 26%

Zijin Mining Group is based in mainland China but operates gold, copper, and zinc mines around the world. The largest mined copper producer in China, Zijin Mining produced 450,000 tons of copper in 2020 and aims to grow output to over 1 million tons in 2025. Zijin Mining operates copper mines in Serbia, mainland China, Tibet, the DRC, and Eritrea. More projects, such as the Rio Blanco in Peru, are under development. The company had 62 million in copper reserves in 2020.

In October 2021, Zijin Mining got into lithium, another key green metal, with the acquisition of Canada’s Neo Lithium in a $770 million deal.

12. Copper Mountain Mining Corp (CPPMF)

  • Market capitalization: 802 million CAD
  • Year-to-date return: 9%

Vancouver, Canada-based Copper Mountain Mining Corp operates the Copper Mountain mine, which produces around 45,000 tons of copper annually. With expansion, the Canadian mine should produce over 60,000 tons of copper a year during its mine life. The miner is also developing the Eva Copper Project in Queensland, Australia, which is expected to produce around 45,000 tons of copper each year on average during its 15-year mine life.

13. Ero Copper Corp (ERO)

  • Market capitalization: 1.6 billion CAD
  • Year-to-date return: -6%

Ero Copper is a Canadian miner that mines copper and gold in Brazil. The company hopes to increase its copper production from 44,000 tons in 2021 to 96,000 tons in 2025. Its mining operations include the MCSA Mining Complex, the Boa Esperanca, a construction-ready project expected to produce 35,000 tons of copper, and the NX Gold mine. Ero Copper generated $490 million in 2021 sales.

14. Capstone Copper Corp (TSE: CS)

  • Market capitalization: 3.0 billion CAD
  • Year-to-date return: 30%

Vancouver, Canada-headquartered Capstone Copper Corp produces copper and several other metals. Its two copper mines are located in the Pinto Valley in the U.S. and Cozamin in Mexico. Capstone also owns 100% of Santo Domingo, a large scale copper-iron-gold project in Chile, as well as several other exploration properties. The company produced over 70,000 tons of copper in 2020. In March 2022, Capstone merged with Mantos Copper.

15. Solaris Resources (SLSSF)

  • Market capitalization: 1.3 billion CAD
  • Year-to-date return: -20%

Solaris Resources, formerly known as Solaris Copper, is a copper exploration company with a portfolio of gold and copper projects in the Americas, including Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Mexico. The company is mostly focused on the Warintza copper and gold project in Ecuador and has proposed to spin out the remaining assets to shareholders.

Is there a copper ETF?

There are several copper funds, including the Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX), which invests in the stocks of copper mining companies, the United States Copper Index Fund (CPER) and the iPath Series B Bloomberg Copper Subindex Total Return ETN (JJC). CPER and JJC invest in copper futures, not mining stocks.

🔔 Looking for copper ETFs? Check out this list of the top copper ETFs.

NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the largest copper producer?

Chile is the world’s largest copper-producing country. CODELCO, a Chilean state-owned company, is the world’s largest copper-producing company.

Is investing in copper a good idea?

Copper is a critical metal enabling the transition to clean energy. Copper prices have more than doubled over the past two years, so investing in copper would have been a great idea. On top of that, new mining has been limited, and analysts are projecting future shortages. However, copper is a volatile commodity, and past performance does not predict future performance.