Despite the considerable diffusion of ownership during the past three decades, transnational corporations still play a major role in the international copper industry and certain barriers to entry remain significant. Transnational corporations specializing in copper production and processing still account for a considerable share of all activities in the industry, and many of the new entrants are, themselves, large transnational corporations.
Barriers to entry into the industry affect several developing countries with copper resources. Exploration, which is a risk venture, especially for smaller corporations, acts as one such barrier. Lack of managerial expertise in bringing a project online seems to be more of a barrier to entry than does lack of the technical know-how needed. The trend towards massive mining operations requires enormous amounts of capital. However, the financing pattern in the international copper industry has shifted to an increasing element of debt financing.