Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Have we reached Peak Copper?

Copper is one of the most important metals in history.
We may not realize how many uses copper has and in how many industries it is needed. Being malleable and a great heat absorbing metal, copper is perfect for electrical cables, computers, electrical switches, microwaves, refrigerators, air conditioning systems and vacuums; it is also used to pipe water supplies and much more.
(ETF Trends)

Although Western economies are undergoing a period of crisis and therefore less growth and production, there is a big demand for copper from developing countries wiring their territory with cables and manufacturing technology products, such as China. In the last decade, prices of copper have kept rising, as The Economist shows us below. 
(The Economist, 2011)

The price of copper rose so much that there have been reports of copper being stolen from rooftops in London! If copper’s demand is to rise by more than 40% by 2020 and its mining has already become more and more expensive, when will the Peak Copper be? Have we reached it early this year? Apparently not, as prices fell back down recently.
Perhaps, alternatives to this metal will start popping out when prices will reach an even higher stand. It is definitely a business challenge now and for the future to find such a good conductor like copper to build our future cars, highly demanded mobile phones and gadgets.    
We are talking about an essential metal which is also very difficult to mine: scientists please find a substitute as soon as possible! Ok, plumbers may have started using plastic tubes, but there still a lot to be done to find a suitable alternative. Also because, plastic should no longer be seen as the best alternative, as petrol supply and prices are not joking either. However, copper recycling is very encouraging, as about 80% of copper ever mined on earth is still in use today.  
Therefore, as we all surprisingly own copper in some way or another, let’s keep it tight!     

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