It’s been a hectic couple of years for copper prices in the United States. Just six years ago, in 2011, the price of copper was at historic highs of $4.50 a pound. However, in 2016, the price of copper saw one of its worst ever performances, dipping below $2 a pound at one point. The metal’s drastic ups and downs have made its future something of a big question mark.
However, no matter what happens in the future, you can count on copper to be a major player.
Uses of Copper
Copper has been integral to man’s development since the Neolithic Era. A naturally strong and beautiful mineral that resists corrosion, once discovered, it was worn as ornamental decoration and ultimately replaced stone weapons and tools. Today, copper is still used as jewelry, but the demand for its use in weaponry has dramatically declined. Instead, copper is primarily used for its ability to effectively and efficiently conduct heat and electricity.
As a result, copper is used in pretty much every single electronic device on the planet. It’s also an integral component for:
– Construction of homes and buildings including wiring and plumbing
– Power generation and delivery
– Product manufacturing
– Vehicle parts and manufacturing
– Heating and cooling systems
– And so much more!!
But that just scratches the surface of the millions of applications of copper in the modern world. When mixed with other metals like brass, nickel or tin – the list of applications exponentially increases.
Factors Determining Copper Prices
According to most experts, the fluctuating price of this extremely malleable mineral is determined by a handful of factors.
First, the bad news. The price of copper could be slightly dampened by the significant increase in production. The industry is set to increase overall production at copper mines by as much as 15 percent. That being said, copper’s abilities as a conductor combined with its forecasted increase in popularity in China should have a cumulatively positive effect.
There are two slight unknowns, as well. A significant portion of the world’s copper mines are in South America, a sometimes turbulent continent that could very well disrupt the flow of copper to the outside world. In that event, the price of copper could surge. Meanwhile, scientists are searching for cheaper alternatives to copper that will conduct electricity and heat as efficiently as copper. But so far, they’ve come up empty handed.
The good news? With all that taken into consideration, most experts, including the World Bank, are expecting a bright future for copper until at least 2025. As the world becomes more urbanized, the need for more copper is almost inevitable. And with no foreseeable alternatives rightly available, the demand for copper is likely to increase, ultimately increasing the value of potentially limited sources.
At General Kinematics, it’s our privilege to help the march of progress by providing some of the world’s best vibratory equipment and solutions. As the demand for copper increases worldwide, GK is here to provide lasting quality equipment for all of your material processing needs.
Learn more about what GK can do for you!