The future of copper in a greener sustainable world

Today copper is a key component of everyday life from mobile telephones to the roofs, heating and electrical wiring in people’s homes.

Why is copper essential?

Copper is a widely used metal for carrying electricity, due to its high conductivity, and is generally the most economical metal for use in electrical components. As modern technology is heavily dependent on electricity and its associated infrastructure, copper is essential for modern living and in particular for the ongoing energy transition to low-carbon economies. Copper also benefits from being a metal resistant to corrosion and with high malleability, meaning it can be crafted into a range of forms for manufacturing different types of products, such as wires, rods, tubes and bars. Thanks to these properties, copper is used in a broad range of industries, including construction, infrastructure, transport and consumer goods.

Global copper consumption fits into three main categories: wire, other forms – such as tubes, rods and plates – and alloys. Of the industries that use copper, 40% of consumption is for electrical purposes in construction, infrastructure and industry, followed by 23% of consumption in the manufacturing of white goods and other appliances.1

Given the wide range of industries using copper, it has traditionally been seen as a barometer of health for the global economy: when global economic activity grows, manufacturing output tends to increase and demand for key inputs (such as copper) rises. The copper price has long been a leading economic indicator, preceding lagging indicators, such as employment and inflation data. The copper price is influenced by other factors, including the global mine supply of primary copper, the recycling rates of scrap copper, and artificial impacts such as trade tariffs. In recent years, demand shifting towards sectors associated with the energy transition has bolstered the copper price, lowering the correlation with phases of economic growth.


Read in full in the 2023 Annual Report (PDF)

Copper’s critical role 2022 Annual Report (PDF)

Copper in a greener world (2021 Annual Report (PDF)

Copper and its Uses (2020 Annual Report PDF)

Copper: the Metal for a Better Future (2020 Annual Report PDF)

Converting Copper Ores into Metal (2020 Annual Report PDF)