Why Is Copper Recognized As The King Of Scrap Metal?
Although there is an abundance of available metals such as iron and aluminum, why is copper still recognized as the King of Scrap Metal? Read on to find out why copper deserves its title.
Copper Characteristics that are Loved by All (especially Mills)
Copper is considered a heavy metal. As a recyclable metal, due to its weight, sellers tend to generate more revenue from it compared with other most commonly found nonferrous metal scrap. Additionally, as a scrap item, it is less commonly found by tonnage and availability as compared to, for example, steel and aluminum. More importantly, copper’s chemical properties make it ideal for certain types of non-toxicity applications, e.g., delivering drinking water and making kitchen equipment, among others. The metal does not transfer any toxins from one medium to another. Copper is also an excellent electrical conductor. It is the world’s most commonly used metal used for electrical conduction. In the U.S., Copper is commonly used in construction & electrical equipment.
Today, copper is still considered a crucial industrial item used throughout the world for a wide array of infrastructure development projects.
In addition to its more limited supply as a scrap material, it is also relatively easy to melt, repurpose, and recycle to manufacture new products, etc. What’s more, copper won’t lose its core properties during melting processes and can be recycled infinitely. Secondary copper production, i.e., repurposing copper after it has been mined, smelted & manufactured into a new product, is an important contribution to the circular global economy.
Understanding the Value of Copper
Copper is high in demand for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Compared to other nonferrous metals, it has limited availability and is easier to recycle. That’s why copper scrap is so highly valued. The basis of which all scrap dealers determine the value of copper comes from the New York Mercantile Exchange or “COMEX”. Because copper is being traded as a commodity, its prices fluctuate on a daily basis. The purer the copper is, the closer the value gets to the value set by New York Mercantile Exchange.
What You Need to Know about Mining Copper
Due to copper’s limited supply, its importance as a conductor and component in technology and construction industries as well as it being traded as a commodity, Copper mining is a profitable business. Due to the massive economic expansion in China in the early 2000’s, global copper mining activity significantly rose to meet this new level of demand for copper products required for new construction.
This resulted in the rise of value of copper ore, increased cost for new copper products & increased scrap value. From a raw (mining) standpoint, less copper ores are also available in mines. Global copper resources are estimated at over five trillion pounds. However, only 12 percent (0.7 trillion pounds) have been mined throughout history. Nearly all of what’s been mined is still in circulation. As mentioned, copper has a significantly higher recycling rate than any other engineering metal.
Each year in the United States, nearly as much copper is recovered from scrap materials as is derived from newly mined ores. For example, although some manufacturers use newly refined copper for wire production, many powder plants, foundries, ingot makers, and copper/brass mills choose to work with recycled copper scrap.
H&C Metals buys and sells all grades of copper. Because we have worked with a wide range of suppliers in NJ and the surrounding region, spanning 43 years in business, we can expertly advise our customers as to the most efficient copper scrap collection processes in advance of selling it to H&C Metals.
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