Copper has been used by humans for over 10,000 years thanks to its many properties. It is tough but malleable, corrosion-resistant and recyclable, an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and is antimicrobial helping to keep us safe from infection.
When it comes to energy efficiency, safe conductivity, resistance to corrosion and very fine wiring there is no practical substitute – only silver is more conductive than copper.
In our modern-day life copper is all around us from the pots and pans we use to the radiators in our cars and the microprocessors in our smartphones and computers. Its antimicrobial properties make it the standard material for water pipes and heating systems in our homes.
Copper is also set to play a leading role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. It’s superior electrical and thermal conductivity make it essential to batteries and all the wiring required for the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Electric vehicles require up to 4 times more copper than traditional vehicles and renewable energy systems use up to 6 times more copper than fossil fuel systems.
Copper also has high recycling rate making it one of the most sustainable metals in use today. Around 80% of the copper ever mined is still in use today.
Driven by electrification and the move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy production, global demand is forecast to grow between 1.5 – 2.5% per year leading to a forecast deficit in supply from the mid 2020s.