The High Price of Copper

Lithium may store the power that drives out modern mobile world but its copper that delivers it. This malleable metal is a vital component in modern homes, electronics, and agriculture. But our reliance on copper comes at a steep price, both economically and environmentally.Copper is quite the miracle metal. It readily conducts electricity second in ability only to silver, strongly resists corrosion, and can easily take on a variety of shapes and tasks—everything from your homes plumbing and the circuitry of your cars stereo to utility-scale power transmission lines and industrial fertilizers and pesticides. In fact, nearly half 45 percent of all copper consumed in the US goes into home buildings with less than a quarter being used in electronics. This is due in no small part to the US economys shift from production to service industries.“If you think about electric cars and wind turbines,” Rohan McGowan-Jackson, vice president of innovation and resource development at the Rio Tinto mining company, told Pacific Standard. “They’re all part of this demand for copper. I mean, I drive a Prius. It’s full of copper! The more you move toward a lower-footprint future, the more demand there is for our product.”

via The High Price of Copper.

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