Major consumers of copper
In the previous article, we explored the physical properties of copper. Let’s take a look at how its physical properties drive copper consumption. The annual consumption of refined copper exceeds 21 million tonnes (or Mt).
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), Rio Tinto (RIO), and BHP Billiton (BHP) are among the top five copper producers. Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX) also engages in copper production and forms 8.28% of the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX).
Copper crucial to construction
The chart above shows the major consumers of copper, with the equipment and construction industries utilizing the largest percentage of the metal. Highly durable, copper can be cast into precision shapes, making copper and its alloys ideal for making gears and bearings. Due to its resistance to corrosion, copper is also used in making tanks, vessels, and pipes that are exposed to seawater.
Because of its excellent heat transfer capabilities, copper is also widely used in producing heat exchange equipment and other uses in extreme environments. As copper is a good conductor of electricity, it is used in making power cables, motors, transformers, and other electrical equipment. It is also widely used in producing renewable energy production systems.
Communication via copper
Widely used in communication systems, copper and copper alloy are a critical part of wires utilized in the telecommunications industry. Fixed line telephone wires and wires used for local area network connectivity contain copper. The $300 billion semiconductor industry is also a major copper consumer.
In the next article, we’ll look at copper consumption in more detail.