Copper: Bronze worth the win or scrap

NOT the metal worth all the talk of course if one is thinking of precious biscuits, tempting bullion market yo-yo ride, equally irresistible wedding shopping or festival binge.

But then copper is not so dull a space specially when we think of how it is ramping copperup attention on its volatility and scrap industry progress recently.

Updates from desks of like Waste Management or Recycling Today remind how this metal is not so much of a side-line entity any more.

This month at the 2014 Middle East Metals Recycling Conference, in Dubai it was noted that that demand for the metal has been significant in the last few years and even use of copper scrap is worth the eyeballs in this market.

A lot of companies have started using a significant amount of copper scrap for finished products and copper scrap as a raw material is coming up in the consideration list on consumer side too.

Gradual consolidation in the scrap metal industry and domestic industry demand is changing the landscape further.

Incidentally, as per, a research company in export import market research, showed that India’s Copper and Copper Articles exports in January- 2014 has fallen to US$ 314.84 M, a decrease of 8.78 per cent compared to December 2013.

As per some pointers here, exports of Refined Copper and Copper Alloys Unwrought has fallen month on month basis by -11.52 per cent, and if one looks at total value of exports in January- 2014 which was 262.14 M, compared to December 2013 , there is a decrease of -34.12 M in January- 2014, growth rate in percentage terms is -11.52 per cent, where the major destination countries were China, Mexico, Colombia, Vietnam and Taiwan and major Indian ports were JNPT, Tuticorin Sea, Ankleshwar, Baroda and Delhi TKD ICD.

Also, exports of Other Articles of Copper has been shown to grow month on month basis by 11.26 per cent.

Other industry indicators tell that the copper surplus may continue for quite some time, probably due to substantial additions to supply over the coming years, and demand may be not constrained by prices while such prices may limit additional capacity.

Meanwhile, in 2013, there was a combination of strong growth in mine supply, weak growth in scrap supply as well as decline in capacity utilisation in smelters, as a result of which global supplies increased.

A Chinese state grid announcement hints at a 13 per cent increase in spending this year, stirring up consumption demand. But as per some experts supply growth could peak this year and begin to slow from 2015 onwards.

Amidst this uncertain action storm, companies like Inashco, are working in areas of recovery of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals for the ashes of waste to energy facilities. The company announced a joint venture with Wheelabrator Technologies dedicated to the recycling of metals from ashes.

It is claimed as a process to be capable of recovering include pieces copper, zinc, lead and aluminium as small as 0.5 mm in size – much smaller than non-ferrous materials currently recovered by conventional technologies. This was additionally propped by plans for ERS to develop aggregate reuse opportunities with the improved ash residue downstream of the ADR process, with the ultimate goal of a circular economic solution for ash management.

So what implications would the core copper market dynamics have on the consumer side and how will it create ripples or creases on scrap metal side of industry, is something that only time can iron out. May be soon.


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