Copper has been in use at least 10,000 years, but more than 95 percent of all copper ever mined and smelted has been extracted since 1900. As India and China race to catch up with the West, copper is becoming in short supply, leading to increased prices and an increase in copper theft.
North America alone mined 164 million metric tons of the reddish-brown metal.
For some purposes, other metals can substitute. For example, during a copper shortage in the 1970s, aluminum wire was substituted in many applications, bringing difficulties that persisted in later decades.
Globally, economic copper resources are being depleted with the equivalent production of three world-class copper mines being consumed annually. Environmental analyst, Lester Brown has suggested copper might run out within 25 years based on what he considered a reasonable extrapolation of 2% growth per year.
Some of the world’s most respected companies and institutions in copper futures are saying that copper prices will fluctuate between 280 and 360 cents per pound in 2008, with an average of approximately 325 cents, similar to that of 2007. The price of copper struck its highest ever on March 6, 2008 on the London Metal Exchange (LME), surging 5.8 percent over the previous trading day to 4.02 dollars per pound. The previous record was set on May 12, 2006 at 3.98 dollars per pound. The international copper price has been increasing rapidly since the beginning of 2008. Copper prices rose 23 percent February 2008.
ASA member testifies on copper theft: Dennis Goode from M. Cooper Supply Co. represents ASA.(AMERICAN SUPPLY ASSOCIATION NEWS: the voice of the industry)
Jan 01, 2009; * ASA recently took part in a Congressional staff briefing on the growing problem of copper theft and the Copper Theft Prevention...