Global copper demand has developed quickly, more than doubling in the last 35 years.
In 1980 the market volume was about 9 million t. Today, the quantity of refined copper produced and processed is roughly 22 million t.
Asia has become the main region of growth -- China alone accounts for around 45 % of total world demand, with an annual copper demand of nearly 10 million t. This demand continues to grow and is expected to reach 11.5 million t by the end of the decade.
About 3.6 million t of copper are required in Europe annually, making it another center of global copper demand. Since only around 3 million t of copper are produced here, there is a supply gap that has to be closed with imports.
Europe is thus even more reliant on its copper production industry, which has an excellent international reputation in many aspects. Aurubis is an established company with a leading position, especially when it comes to environmental protection, energy efficiency and energy management.
The copper price
The copper price is determined by the supply and demand dynamics on the metal exchanges, particularly the London Metal Exchange (LME). After the global financial crisis in 2008 and temporary highs of up to US$ 10,000/t in 2011, the copper price slowly moved downward. It remained stable at an average of around US$ 7,000/t in 2014. At the beginning of this year, the price decreased to below US$ 6,000/t.
The uses of copper
The uses of copper reflect its variety of material properties: because of its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, it is ideally suited for use in electrical engineering, electronics and telecommunications. Its electrical conductivity is 1.5 times as high as that of aluminum, which makes copper the preferred input material for electrical mains. Despite its very good formability, copper is extremely strong with high corrosion resistance.
The increasing interconnectedness in our offices and households, growing demands on information and communication technology, a sustainable and environmentally sound energy supply and high safety and comfort standards, for example in automotive engineering, ensure a constant rise in copper demand. Every mid-range car contains about 25 kg of copper – luxury class models can have more than twice this amount. Modern life wouldn’t be possible without copper.
Copper also has an established role in architecture and construction: apart from electrical wiring made of copper, copper pipes are also used in buildings’ air conditioning and water supply technology. Copper is often used for roofing and facades due to its good corrosion resistance and, last but not least, because of its attractive appearance.