Economic overview of 2004
Metals and Minerals Markets
In 2004, the worldwide mining industry
benefited from stronger, better synchronized global economic growth.
It also continued to take advantage of the vigour of China's economy,
in spite of various measures taken by the government to slow it
down to a more sustainable pace. The resulting increase in consumption
of metals and minerals was reflected in the prices of some of these
commodities. Prices also greatly benefited from the depreciation
of the American dollar for the second consecutive year and, in some
cases, from major constraints in terms of supply.
The average annual prices of base
metals (copper, nickel and zinc) rose significantly. For the third
year in a row, there was a noticeable rise in the price of gold.
The price of iron ore, fuelled by substantial growth in world steel
production and ore imports by China, also increased considerably.