UPDATE 2-Copper companies strike optimistic note on medium-term prices
* Copper prices could hit $5/lb in 4-5 years -Codelco
* Copper seen at $3-3.50 for next two years - Codelco
* Dearth of new mines, refinery bottlenecks fuel bullish case (Adds detail, comments on copper price outlook)
SHANGHAI, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Copper prices could be held down by rising supply from mines in the next couple of years but are set to surge after that due to a dearth of monster projects and bottlenecks at refineries, senior executives at top copper producers said on Wednesday.
Widely seen as a barometer for economic growth, copper prices have shed around 10 percent this year as the global economy struggles to recover from the 2008/09 financial crisis.
Expectations of improving supply, financed by copper's swing to record highs above $10,000 in early 2011 and now feeding into the market, have soured the price outlook.
Goldman Sachs this week slashed its 2015 copper price forecast to $6,217 per ton from $6,400.
"The mining sector is very vulnerable to cycles. When there is a boom, mining companies hold big gala dinners, with chandeliers and trumpets, but when the market is down, everyone has gloomy faces and exploration stops," said Javier Targhetta, senior vice-president at Freeport-McMoRan Inc
Growth in demand of 3 to 4 percent annually over the next five years meant 4 to 5 million tonnes of new supply would have to be found, the equivalent of 10 to 12 big mines, he told a Metal Bulletin copper conference in Shanghai. Continuación...