Copper Price Spikes on Escondida Strike

Escondida miners are striking, the latest round of talks with BHP is unlikely to result in anything else than an extension of the strike and copper is soaring since Escondida produces 5% of the world's copper. Add forecasts about rising demand because EVs and you've got a pretty bright future for copper. Is it me or is it EVs, EVs everywhere?

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Copper demand from EV's is only a tiny share of copper demand. EV growth will affect copper demand but on the long term when EV market share will be more consistent.

EV growth has already a strong effect on cobalt and lithium, will increasingly affect nickel demand and later will have an impact on copper.

But more generally we are heading to a world with an increasing demand for electricity (not only from EV's but also from internet of things, smart cities, datacenters...) so the demand for electrical wires will increase and impact copper demand.

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I was under the impression that most heavy wire had gone over to aluminum.  Anyone?

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3 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

I was under the impression that most heavy wire had gone over to aluminum.  Anyone?

It depends of the applications. Copper and aluminium have different properties. Aluminium is cheaper but copper is safer. The main material property in deciding between using Al or Cu in an electrical application is its capacity. Cu offers a better electrical capacity per volume. However, Al has better capacity per weight.

 

Al applications

Transmission and distribution lines: The lighter Al wire means fewer support towers, leading to most of the world using Al for high voltage overhead transmission lines.

Lighting applications: Many light bulbs and other connectors in the past used brass connectors. Today, many lighting connectors use Al.

Cu Applications

Telecommunication wires: Cu’s higher ductility works well to provide flexibility and less breaking to the telecommunication industry.  

Motors: Size and capacity are important factors in designing motors and have many manufacturers using Cu for their designs.

Both Cu and Al Applications

Large-building wiring: Al is in many of the wires for large buildings. It offers the price stability over the long time it takes to build them. In addition, if space is not a problem Al can reduce the price for large building that can contain miles of wires. However, Cu’s ductility and smaller size work well for conduit inside the buildings. This is a couple reasons both materials offer advantages in large buildings.

 

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