Copper: A Relative Constant in a Changing World

Aug 1, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

An illustration shows the copper atom.

Copper is necessary for construction, electricity transmission and transportation, meaning it can serve as a fairly reliable gauge of economic growth.



  • Economic growth in large, developing nation and the widespread adoption of electric vehicles will increase global demand for copper.
  • But the metal has enough other uses that electric vehicle demand alone will not be enough to prompt sufficient expansion of traditional mines. Refiners will likely turn to recycling and alternative extraction methods.
  • South American copper producers will continue to dominate global exports despite increasing environmental constraints. Other major producers, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mongolia, will face political challenges as operations try to expand.

Copper was one of the first metals tamed by the human race; people were using it for decorative objects, tools and weapons as early as 4500 B.C. in Mesopotamia. In modern society, the element is necessary for construction materials, electricity transmission and transportation. That means it can serve as a fairly reliable gauge of economic growth, with demand indicating how much effort a country or region is putting into industrialization and urbanization....

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