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Copper Market – Snapshot

Copper is a metallic element which is malleable and ductile in nature with excellent heat and electric conductivity as well as high resistance to corrosion and microbes. Copper occurs naturally in the earth’s crust in a variety of forms. Copper originating from ores is called primary copper.  Copper is one of the most recycled of all metals. Recycled copper is called secondary copper.

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Copper and copper?based alloys are widely used in a variety of applications that are very crucial in day-to-day life. Copper alloyed with zinc is called brass. Bronze is an alloy of copper and 12% of tin and other trace elements such as aluminum or manganese or nickel. When alloyed with other metals, copper can acquire new characteristics. This makes it suitable for use in highly specialized applications. Chemical, physical and aesthetic properties of copper make it a material of choice in a wide range of domestic, industrial and high-technology applications.

The rising demand for copper would be met by improvements in the mining technology, efficient designs of ore processing, and discovery of new copper reserves. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), worldwide copper reserves stood at around 720 million tons in 2017 and undiscovered copper reserves are estimated to stand at around 3,500 million tons. In Europe, the total number of copper reserves is very negligible and these reserves fail to meet the rising demand for copper in the region. Copper is the only metal that does not lose its chemical and physical properties after recycling. Producers in the region have decided to take advantage of this and meet the increasing demand for copper with the help of circular economy of copper. The term ‘circular economy of copper’ refers to renewable nature of copper led by its reuse and recycling. The used copper products are recycled to extract copper and the extracted copper is re-used to manufacture new products.

Copper is considered a contributor to the GDP of developing as well as developed countries. Copper mining, recycling of copper, and transformation of the processed metal into a diverse range of products create jobs and contribute to the GDP of a country.

In terms of revenue, the global copper market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 4.6% from 2018 to 2026 and reach value of US$ 222.1 Bn by 2026. The global copper market has been segmented based on type, form, and application. Based on type, the market has been segregated into primary copper and secondary copper. The secondary copper segment is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. Based on form, the global copper market has been segmented into wire rods, plates, sheets & strips, tubes, bars & sections, and others. The wire rods segment held a leading share of the global copper market in 2017 and is expected gain a significant market share by the end of the forecast period. Based on application, the global copper market has been classified into construction, transportation, appliances & electronics, power generation, distribution and transmission, and others. The others segment includes ammunition coins, machinery, and defense. Copper has exceptional mechanical properties such as ability to be cast with high precision and tolerance, durability, and machinability. This makes copper-based alloys the best choice for products such as gears, bearings, and turbine blades. The construction segment accounted for a leading share of the global copper market in 2017. It is likely to remain a dominant segment throughout the forecast period. The power generation, distribution and transmission segment is anticipated to expand at a rapid pace between 2018 and 2026, followed by the construction segment, in terms of both value and volume.

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Key players operating in the market are Codelco, Rio Tinto, Glencore International AG, Freeport McMoRan Inc., Jiangxi Copper Corporation, BHP Bilition, Antofagasta Plc., Group Mexico, and Aurubis. Other prominent players in the copper market are Vedanta Resources Plc, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd, LS-Nikko Co., and Tongling Non-Ferrous Metals Group. The report also comprises a matrix of comparison between four top players operating in the global copper market along with market share analysis for 2017. On September 27, 2017, the International Copper Study Group partnered with the Common Fund for Commodities, the International Copper Association, and the International Copper Promotion Council (India) for technology transfer in a project titled ‘High-pressure Copper Die Casting in India’. The project is related to the manufacture of rotors and motor systems by using high-pressure copper die casting parts that are highly energy efficient in nature.