Christmas comes early for copper


Christmas comes early for copper

As legislation to allow the largest copper mine in the US edges closer, Christmas has truly come early for manufacturers that rely on copper. Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto look set to agree a deal with the state of Arizona to secure 2,400 acres of federally protected land, with the intention of starting to mine at the location by 2020.

Aside from the obvious economic benefits to the local economy – the mine is estimated to generate over $60 billion -, this site is expected to meet almost a quarter of total US copper demand. As a result, this is likely to contribute to falling copper prices, with the World Bank predicting a 21 percent decrease in its real value over the next 10 years. This is despite the fact that prices for raw materials are generally increasing and forecast to either continue to rise further or stabilise at an inflated price.

However, manufacturers would be wise to be wary of this prediction by the World Bank. Simple economics of supply and demand mean that although the price of copper may fall, this is likely to lead to increased demand, which in turn will result in reduced availability – and therefore inflation. But, let’s not forget that the price of copper will still make it a favourable option over most alternatives, especially when used efficiently and sparingly in the manufacturing process.

Enter cold forming, which offers manufacturers excellent waste reduction capabilities and can further minimise the cost of purchasing raw materials such as copper for a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive and medical. By cold forming parts, manufacturers can ensure that their component manufacture is as efficient as possible, and combined with lower copper prices this can lead to increased profitability for manufacturers.