Recycled Copper – why the scrap metal market is still booming

Copper is in demand. As the construction industry slowly emerges from the economic hit of the pandemic, copper is once again in demand, especially for copper wire and copper pipes and tubing. Yes, in some sectors plastic and even aluminium has replaced copper, but the red metal still holds its own. It is strong and malleable, used properly corrosion is not a problem, and it is a good conductor of electricity. And this last point is key. Not only is copper in demand for electrical wiring in buildings, it is an essential material for the rapidly growing “green” economy that is ever more reliant on cleanly generated electricity. So demand for copper is up, but primary supply is not currently keeping pace. Enter re-cycling. Recycled copper is not new, but the level of demand has been steadily increasing for several years , and now more than ever. It’s not a surprise therefore, that the scrap metal market is busy. Scrap copper: is it worth it? Scrap metal has always been worth something. Co

Copper: worth its weight in gold?

Why copper’s intrinsic value runs deep-veined through history. Everyone knows gold is expensive. We recognise it as a signifier of wealth, often without considering why. True, it has a shine and lustre like no other, but other materials also have their own unique and alluring visual qualities. Somehow, we have been seduced into holding gold above others. One can’t help wondering, is that fair? Alluring  For thousands of years, lots of people have thought so. Economies have been based on its perceived value, and status has depended on it. Shiny and rare, gold has captivated many an imagination and been the downfall of more than a few. But in practical terms its uses beyond jewellery (shiny and malleable) were traditionally quite limited. In modern times gold has developed wider applications: in dentistry (in fact since about 700BC, but it is still in use) in aerospace and in electronics – gold is an exceptionally good conductor, so it’s the metal of choice for high quality components in

Copper prices: prophecies or predictions?

Attempting to analyse the analysts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist – or in this case, mining industry analysts – to work out that copper is going to play an important part in all our futures and in particular in the development of low carbon economies. Copper is essential for most things electrical and its in high demand for everything from electric vehicles to wind turbines and managing geothermal energy. Pretty much anything which creates, stores or distributes electricity requires copper. The price of doom and gloom Stable prices require an approximate balance of supply and demand. Where supply fails to meet demand, prices go up. Where there is too much supply, prices fall until there is parity.  Given the rapid growth of electric vehicle production, especially in China, and the inexorable move to EVs in Europe and the US, plus increasing demand for wind turbines globally, demand for copper is already on the up.  Copper used for other purposes such as roofing and piping, even do

Copper: balancing Brexit bureaucracy with high demand

Considering a shiny red metal in a post pandemic world. Global commodity markets function according to their own internal logic. So do the bureaucrats and civil servants tasked with unravelling the implications of Brexit. Throw in projected increases in demand for copper and copper alloys, and the future looks interesting. With clients in the EU and with most of our copper sourced from outside the UK, we’re positioned right at the heart of a copper-coloured matrix. This is not without its challenges, but it also gives us unique opportunities to see what’s going on. Buying and selling the future Copper prices are determined by the commodities markets in a complex interaction of actual and predicted supply and actual and predicted demand. Despite the reputation of commodity markets to fluctuate wildly on whim and rumour, the reality is that trends tend to be very rational over the medium and long terms. In 2020 the markets struggled with competing pressures of reduced production, pandemi

Long term value in a precious metal

Why copper is a real investment in the future. Copper is the most remarkable metal. It is not strictly a ‘precious’ metal of course, but its multiplicity of uses renders that distinction irrelevant. It’s much cheaper than gold but many times more useful, and it’s 100% recyclable without any loss of its properties. In fact, it is estimated that as much as 50% of Europe’s demand for copper (and 35% worldwide) is met from recycled sources, and that at least 60% of all copper ever produced is still in use.   Greening the world with copper   Although copper production can have a relatively high carbon footprint (it varies considerably depending on origin), its complete recyclability renders it carbon efficient in the long run. And once produced, copper alloys empower sustainable development.   Copper is already making a contribution to a low carbon future. It is essential for wind turbines, which use it in their ring generators, and it features significantly downstream, once t

The specialist is dead – long live the specialist!

How the nature of specialisation has changed. We are familiar with the ever-growing number of specialisms and specialists which seem to saturate the modern world. They are nothing new, of course. Ever since man came down from the trees, there have been specialists – hunters, fishers, cooks, warriors, healers. And in the modern world, specialists play a vital role. We would, for example, be in a dreadful place without the scientists who specialise in developing vaccines. On a slightly more prosaic level, I would much rather have a tooth removed by a qualified dentist than his or her predecessor, the notorious barber-surgeon.   Specialists for everything? It is hard to argue against the fact of specialisation. Through history it is specialists who held the reins of power. For centuries it was soldiers, then in the middle ages it was lawyers. And because most lawyers were clerics, power rested with the church, an institution that specialised in wielding earthly power as well a

Magic Metals and Advanced Alloys

or ancient solutions to modern problems The shock of the new Life is full of surprises and 2020 has certainly brought its fair share of those in the form of multiple and formidable challenges. Even putting Brexit aside, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic not only took many countries by surprise, but it has had global impacts on supply and demand with which we’ll be dealing with for many years to come. It is hard to imagine an individual, business or industry that has not staggered under the weight of these changes. Many businesses have collapsed and those that continue to trade are doing so in markets that have experienced radical change. The metals industry is no exception. In 2020 The World Steel Association forecasts that steel demand will have dropped by 6.4%, with an expected recovery in 2021 of demand of only 3.8 % over 2020. Relatively small percentages perhaps, but in terms of the tonnage of steel produced and sold, of huge consequence.   Not all metals are