The main refined product is copper cathode, which is the form that is traded on the LME. Cathode is then worked into wire rod, billet, slab or ingot. These products are then used by semi-fabricators to produce wire, rod, tube, plate, sheet, castings and powders. Downstream manufacturers then use these forms of copper in end-use products such as electronics, appliances and vehicles.
Demand has increased from around 2.5 million tonnes in 1940 to 20 million tonnes in 2011. Between 1900 and 2011, demand has grown by around three percent per year.
Copper is not a particularly rare metal and it is produced in many countries, Today copper supply is made up from two sources, the majority, 83%, comes from primary production, that new copper that is mined from the ground, but of growing importance is secondary supply which accounts for 17% of total refined copper supply. Secondary supply comes from recycling copper scrap.
With some many applications it is of little surprise that aluminium has rapidly become the largest base metal in terms of tonnage consumed annually. With all aspects of its use likely to benefit from continuing growth in the developed economies aluminium has a stable outlook, however, with the rapid industrialisation and urbanisation of countries like China and India, aluminium demand is set to accelerate sharply. demand has risen from 2 million tonnes in 1950, to 9.5 million tonnes in 1970, to 19 million tonnes in 1990, 25 million tonnes in 2000 and 42 million tonnes in 2011.
plays an important part of the supply chain as aluminium’s use in packaging often has a short life span. To produce aluminium from scrap aluminium costs a fraction of the cost of producing primary aluminium. To produce one tonne of aluminium from scrap consumes only 5% of the amount of electricity that it takes to produce one tonne of primary aluminium.
Battery applications can be broken down into two sectors – vehicle batteries and industrial batteries. Vehicle batteries include SLI batteries (starting, lighting and ignition – the ones used to start a vehicle) and SLA (sealed lead-acid) batteries used to power e-bikes and the like. Demand for vehicle batteries has grown rapidly in the past decade as vehicle ownership in emerging markets has ballooned. This is a trend that is likely to continue.Industrial batteries, or static batteries, are now growing at a fast pace since much new technology now requires back-up power or a means to store energy. Mobile phone base stations, data centres such as cloud computing and hospitals all require back-up power. In addition, alternative energy production from solar or wind power in remote locations, away from the national electricity grid, need to be able to store the energy they produce.Lead is still used in some chemical compounds, in weather-proofing buildings, for protecting electrical power cables and also in ammunition.
comes from a combination of new primary lead production and from scrap recycling, with primary supply now accounting for 43 percent of refined output and 57 percent coming from secondary supply.
Lead supply can be affected by a host of factors, during the 2001 down turn in metal prices, zinc prices fell to levels that prompted producers to cut zinc mine output. As lead is produced as a co-product of zinc, the cutback in zinc output also hit lead mine output.
With zinc’s fundamentals worse than those of lead, investment in zinc-lead mining was held back, which lead to the development of tightness in lead supply. As a result, lead prices rose from the low $400s/tonne in 2001 to over $980/tonne in 2004 and over $3,700/tonne in 2007.