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The US metal ore mining market has the vast geography and rich natural resources of the region to thank for its success. Industry turnover reached US$26.7 billion in 2012, demonstrating a full recovery after the 2009 recession.
The market was one of the numerous casualties of the global recession of 2008-2009, as even a relatively small reduction in spending on behalf of the country's collapsing construction and car industries translated into massive revenue losses for mining companies, due to the large share size of these client groups. Direct metal ore purchases from US automotive companies, for example, plummeted by as much as 56% in 2009 alone, and many more was lost indirectly, via shrinking orders for processed metals.
Major metal ore buyers in the US are metal traders, wholesalers and third-party processors, which purchase raw metals to produce gold bullion, silver ingots, refined copper, nickel and other metals. As of 2012, approximately 37% of all metal ores available on the domestic market were purchased by producers of precious and non-ferrous metals, followed by basic iron and steel processing companies, accounting for another 21%.
Around 78% of the industry's total turnover was generated by mining of non-ferrous metal ores, with gold-related revenue leading growth. In 2011 alone, the volume of gold mine production was estimated at 237 metric tonnes, up by 3% from 2010, as a result of restarted mines in Montana and Nevada. These increases were, however, partially offset by a drop in production from mines in Utah.
The US metal ore mining industry includes about 200 companies with combined annual revenue of approximately $35 billion. Major companies include Cliffs Natural Resources, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), Newmont Mining, Southern Copper, and Coeur d'Alene Mines.
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) was the largest company in the industry and the world's largest publicly traded copper company. With headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, FCX operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum.
For more information on the US metal ore mining market, see the latest research: US Metal Ore Mining Market
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