Copper ranks third in world metal consumption, after steel and aluminium.
It occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust, and is found in pure “native” form, as well as in sulphide, carbonate and silicate deposits.
Copper is one of the most recycled metals and it is hard to distinguish between primary copper and recycled copper.
Copper is used by the electrical industry; in construction; in the production of telecommunication equipment; in the manufacture of trains, ships, airplanes and cars; in the making of industrial machinery and equipment; in minting coins; and in manufacturing various consumer products.
Japan, Spain, China and Germany are the largest importers of copper.
Demand comes from growth and development in the building and construction sector and electrical and electronics industries
Economic, technological and societal factors influence the supply and demand of copper. As society’s need for copper increases, new mines and plants are introduced, and existing ones are expanded.
The metal is available in most regions of the world and is today produced in most countries. Approximately 88 percent of copper produced comes from primary sources, while the remaining 12 percent is secondary or recycled copper.
Chile, Indonesia, Australia and Canada are the largest exporters of copper.
The United States and Europe generate the largest amount of copper and copper alloy scrap, which is then recycled and reused.
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