Global demand for copper has almost doubled in the last twenty-five years: While in 1980 more than 9 million t of copper were produced and processed, today some 19 million t of copper are produced and processed annually.
Although raw materials were not attributed much significance in the ‘90s, a raw material boom developed in 2004. Prices of industrial metals, especially copper, rose substantially. This was triggered by the low production output and strong demand in China and India. Asia became the central growth region for copper. With an annual copper demand of about 5.1 million t, China alone accounts for about 27 % of total global demand in the meantime. This level of demand continues unabated, so a 127 % increase to 11.6 million t of copper is expected by 2018.
The market is currently in a correction phase as a result of the global financial crisis. Speculation in raw material prices is lower, though the fundamental data are still good.
Europe produces more than 4 million t of copper annually, i.e., almost 25 % of global copper output. This corresponds to an annual per capita demand of more than 9 kg. As the largest copper producer in Europe, Aurubis covers a significant part of this demand.