Copper Monopolies

Copper Monopolies


trusts, controlled by the monopolistic capital of the United States, Great Britain, and Belgium, that dominate the copper industry of the capitalist countries. By the early 1970’s there were seven such trusts.

The copper trusts monopolized the output of raw material by dividing the explored copper ore deposits among themselves; the majority of these deposits are located in economically under-developed areas. US copper monopolies seized the mines of the United States, Latin America, and, to a lesser extent, Canada; the British and Belgian trusts took control of the mining regions in the copperbelt region of Central Africa. Rivalry between the copper monopolies has intensified with the growth of copper consumption in industry and in the production of armaments. In the late 1920’s, the copper monopolies of the United States attempted to seize the newly discovered copper deposits in Northern Rhodesia, but the British trusts succeeded in retaining their predominance. The copper monopolies used a one-sided specialization in the extraction and primary processing of ores to establish control over entire countries and regions rich in copper ore. The Belgian company Union Miniere du Haut-Katanga (UMHK), in which American and British capital was also invested, emerged as the sovereign master of Katanga Province (in the former Belgian Congo, now Zaire). The US copper monopolies Anaconda and Kennecott Copper held nearly undivided control in Chile, and two Anglo-American trusts, the Anglo-American Company of South Africa and the Rhodesian Selection Trust, dominated Northern Rhodesia. The plunder of these countries by the copper monopolies was further aggravated by their exportation of extracted ore after its initial processing. The monopolization of production, the severe exploitation of workers, the enormous strategic importance of copper, and the fulfillment of large military orders guaranteed huge profits for the copper monopolies.

The victory of the national liberation movements in the developing countries has substantially undermined the position held by the copper monopolies of the United States, Great Britain, and Belgium. The enterprises of the copper monopolies have been nationalized in many developing countries, serving as the foundation for copper corporations under state control or with state participation. The copper monopolies are actively resisting the national liberation movements; they are instigating and

Table 1. Major copper monopolies of the capitalist countries (1972)
 EstablishedAssetsCapitalizationEmployeesSalesGross profitNet profit
Kennecott Copper(USA) ........1915$1,846,000,000$1,204,000,00029,100$1,145,000,000$157,000,000$47,000,000
Phelps Dodge (USA) ........18851,043,000,000749,000,00015,800766,000,000141,000,00082,000,000
ASARCO (USA) ........1889990,000,000707,000,00014,800814,000,00075,000,00049,000,000
Anaconda (USA) ........18951,600,000,000971,000,00025,9001,012,000,00071,000,00064,000,000

financing reactionary groups in copper-mining countries, as well as employing sabotage tactics to prevent the further nationalization of enterprises.

US copper monopolies, which control more than 35 percent of the copper-smelting operations in both capitalist and developing countries, are maintaining the lead in the copper industry of the capitalist world (see Table 1). Exploiting the fact that the corporations in developing countries are lacking in administrative experience, qualified personnel, and a marketing network and that these countries are dependent on foreign capital, the monopolies of the United States and Great Britain still exert considerable influence on the copper industries of the developing countries. In many cases, American, British, and Belgian monopolies control the enterprises and their product sales by owning a share in their capital and by placing representatives in their management.

Copper monopolies are powerful specialized trusts that carry out geological research and mine and process ores. Besides their copper activities, they produce other nonferrous, precious, and rare metals. US copper monopolies also manufacture semifinished products made of copper and its alloys. A basic form of foreign economic expansion by the copper monopolies of the United States is the investment of capital in the mining and metallurgy industries of developing countries; the total number of enterprises controlled by the US in developed countries is small.

The largest copper monopoly in the United States is Kennecott Copper, which owns 25 percent of the copper-smelting capacity in the US and over 8 percent in the other capitalist and the developing countries. Kennecott Copper possesses major sources of raw materials in the United States. Its primary activity is the extraction of copper ore, most of which is processed in plants owned by the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO), a copper monopoly closely affiliated with Kennecott Copper. The exploitation of natural resources in Latin America and Africa played a major role in Kennecott’s development. In 1970, 30 percent of the ore extracted by Kennecott Copper came from Chilean mines; 18 percent of its assets and 16 percent of its profits was accounted for by the activity of enterprises located outside the United States. Kennecott Copper also mines iron ore and coal. The monopoly is controlled by the Guggenheims, the Morgans, and the First National City Bank of New York.

The American monopoly Phelps Dodge controls approximately 24 percent of the US capacity for producing blister copper and 23 percent of the capacity forproducing refined copper; it also owns 7.8 percent of the blister copper capacity in other capitalist countries and in developing countries. Phelps Dodge is primarily concerned with the exploitation of copper deposits in the United States (Arizona); it also has copper mining operations in Peru and produces uranium concentrates. The monopoly is controlled by the First National City Bank of New York, the Harrimans, and Manufacturers Hanover Trust.

The major activity of the American Smelting and Refining Corporation is the processing of ore, most of which is supplied by Kennecott Copper. ASARCO controls 23.3 percent of the copper refining in the United States and 13 percent of the blister copper smelting in the capitalist and developing countries; it also exploits large polymetallic ore deposits in Idaho. ASARCO, the basic supplier of lead to the capitalist world, also produces various other nonferrous metals. It has plants in Australia, Mexico, Canada, and Great Britain and is controlled by six financial groups.

Since acquiring control in 1971 of the Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company, a large American copper firm, Anaconda now owns 16 percent of the copper-smelting capacity in the United States. It is also the main US supplier of uranium concentrates and brass products. Anaconda is active in copper operations in Mexico and Canada and in bauxite mining in Australia and Jamaica. The monopoly is controlled by the First National City Bank of New York, the Morgans, and the Harrimans.