Copper is in short supply. Trade in copper and copper alloy scrap is thriving because copper can be recycled through copper wire granulator or wire stripper.
Copper has good regenerative properties which make it be recycled again. Copper scrap (copper) refers to the copper mental without service life resulting from early copper consumption and savings, so the history of copper consumption directly affects the future for the amount of copper scrap recycling.
Regions Trade Patterns of the Copper Scrap
The overall characteristics of the global Copper scrap trade are that exports from the developed countries, to Germany, Japan and other industrial production countries, but in America and Europe as well as some other important features. In America, the United States is one of the important transit countries in copper scrap trade. Canada, Mexico and Chile are the main supplier of copper scrap of America.
As for export situation in 2006, for example, more than half of the copper scrap in these countries are exported to the United States. As the world’s biggest exporter of copper scrap, a large share of US Imported from these three countries copper scrap is to export to other countries.
Germany and Belgium are the main destination for copper scrap export to other European countries. On the one hand, the industrial production of the two countries need a lot of copper scrap, on the other hand, the two countries exports to other countries such as China a large number of copper scrap.
In addition, copper scrap recyclingis affected by many factors, especially the absolute level of copper price. High copper prices can greatly improve the enthusiasm of social copper scrap recycling and can improve the overall recovery of copper scrap to a certain extent. And as the whole society’s attention to the economic sustainable development, the recycle of resources is paid attention to the government and the social from all walks of life, all which can help improve the recovery rate of copper scrap and our scrap of copper scrap on the whole.
The Supply Amount Stuation of Global Copper Scrap
The Supply of Global Copper Scrap
Drawing lessons from some professional organizations (such as Antaike) method, we can estimate copper scrap recycling amount of the future society: taken together, the average service life of the copper in various areas (building, electric power, transportation, etc.) will be about 30 years; As for recovery of various fields , recovery was 80% in the field of construction of power cables and power equipment recovery was 85%, the transportation and household appliances recovery was around 80%, other copper products calculated at 70%, the recovery of copper products of comprehensive recovery was 78.8%. Therefore, the number of copper scrap recycling this year can use a rough estimate of copper consumption 30 years ago. For example, the copper scrap recycling amount in 2008 = 1978 * 78.8% = 8.78 million tons of copper consumption amount * 78.8% = 6.92 million tons.
Using this method, combining with the history of global consumption of refined copper, we can estimate the global waste copper scrap amount: 2000 was around 7.9 million tons, later will slowly rise and reach 12 million tons in 2030 to the level. In general, the future global copper scrap recycled amount will gradually rise to increase the position in the global copper raw material supply.
US Consumption of Copper
In the United States, copper from both primary (mined) and secondary (recycled) sources is consumed at industrial production plants. US industry import reliance for copper in the last 14 years has increased from not over 1% of domestic consumption in 1991 to more than 48%, and 32% in 2003 and 2008, respectively.
In 2006, a record level of refined copper, about 1.1 million tons, was imported into the United States. In excess of 600,000 tons of refined copper has been imported by the United States each year 2008-2010.
This compares with only 343,000 tons of refined imports as recently as 1993. Copper derived from domestic mines and as well as from domestic scrap sources has steadily decreased in recent years as imports of refined copper have increased. As copper consumption at US plants dropped further in 2008, however, the rate of refined imports also declined. US refined imports for 2011 were only 297,300 tons. US refined copper consumption for 2012 was estimated to be 1.79 million tons.
US Trade in Copper and Copper Alloy Scrap
Copper and copper alloy scrap has significant value for the manufacturing industries of both the US and other countries in the world. Copper base scrap as well as lower-graded copper materials with by-product metal value, are all commodity-like materials that are traded and used like other raw materials. Thus, recycled materials form an important part of the US copper both exports and imports. This has been particularly significant in recent years since the manufacturing bases of the Asian countries have been growing and demanding more raw materials. The domestic market for scrap is still as large as exports though exports have been growing at a fast rate. US industry consumption of scrap has decreased from about 1.77 million tons in 1997 to around 930,000 tons in 2010. Net exports of copper scrap for 2011 were a little higher at 944,890 tons.
The copper scrap import and export situation of the United States
From the perspective of the export situation of copper scrap, the world’s largest exporter of copper scrap is the United States, the copper scrap exports in 2008 reached 2008 tons accounting for 19% of global exports amount; Germany, followed by copper scrap exports in 2008 reached 2008 tons, accounting for 9% of the world’s total exports. In addition to both the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and other western developed countries are important source of the export of copper scrap, copper scrap exports each year are around 200000 tons, the country’s share of global copper scrap copper scrap exports are more than sixty percent of total exports. Considering the history of refined copper consumption and the average service life, copper scrap recycling and export like this in the coming years will be no big change.
The United States (17% of world copper-base scrap exports in 2009) is the largest exporter of copper scrap in the world. US exports of scrap have increased by 93% since 2000. Access to raw materials, for instance, scrap, remains critically important for all US manufacturing industries.
The United States is a significant exporter of copper and copper alloy scrap, and has been the world’s largest exporter of copper-based scrap since 1999. US net exports of scrap in 2011 were estimated at 944, 890 tons, up from a net export of around 62,700 tons in 1993, and 140,000 in 1997. The most significant US scrap export destinations are in Western Europe and Asia. Although the amounts have been declining since 1997, the United States also imports around 100,000 tons per year of scrap. The most important US import sources of copper and copper alloy scrap in 2008 continued to be Canada (40%) and Mexico (35%). Scrap exports generally have been increasing since the early 1970’s. Exports suddenly doubled between 1999 and 2000, and have remained well over 500,000 tons annually since that time. Lower scrap imports and exports in 1996 through 1999, were the result of the worldwide depressed copper prices, the strong US dollar and a temporary setback in Chinese imports during the early part of this period. The lower scrap price and stronger dollar also combined to make US scrap scarce for domestic buyers, as well as expensive for foreign buyers over that short (1996-1999) period of time. Since 1999, however, foreign buyers (principally China) have managed to outstrip local mills in competition for scarce purchased scrap.
US copper and copper alloy scrap exports set another record in 2011 reported at 1.239 million tons. Since 2005, US trade statistics have tracked the type of scrap in its export statistics. While unalloyed scrap exports remained around 350,000 tons per year until 2011, alloyed and mixed scrap exports have escalated from around 300,000 tons in 2005 to 738,730 tons in 2010. The bulk (80%) of this mixed copper and copper alloy scrap has been destined for China (USGS, Dec 2008 MIS). In 2012, unalloyed scrap exports reached an estimated 484,000 tons.
In lieu of scrap, primary copper at bargain prices between 1998 and 2003 provided a ready substitute in the United States for those who could utilize it. However, owing to the types of furnaces used, size of charge needed, and chemical requirements for certain alloys, this was not possible for all secondary metal users, and the market became difficult for these industries. Those mills and ingot makers that were dependent upon direct melt alloy scrap were highly affected by the increased US exports.
The trend in US net scrap exports appears as a mirror image to the trend of copper recovered from refined scrap. When refining from scrap (largely “old” scrap) is high, net exports (exports less imports) are lower. Lower exports and higher imports of scrap in the early 1980’s were in part owing to the stronger dollar of the period. Trade in low-grade, copper-containing ash and residues has been recorded by the Bureau of the Census under HTS 262030 since 1989, when the harmonized code was instituted in the United States. Prior to this nomenclature, the TSUS standards and nomenclatures were used. For exports, the TSUS number is 6030010 and for imports, it is TSUS 6035040. Exports of “ashes and residues containing mainly copper” are reported in gross weight of material. The import data are in copper content, but it can be extrapolated to gross weight for comparison with the USGS reports for consumption of low-copper ashes and residues. Although the material may contain up to 65% copper, an average copper content of 35% was used in estimating the gross weight for exports and imports.
The major trading partners receiving ashes, residues and slag from the United States for further processing are Belgium,Canada, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom and, more recently, China. Major import sources are the copper producers of Botswana, Chile, Mexico, Canada and Australia. Copper ashes and residues exports increased from the early 1980’s to reach 28,110 tons in 1995, but then decreased to as low as 2,950 tons in 2002. Since 2004, copper ash and residue exports again began to increase and, in 2007, and 2011 were 62,150 tons and 38,300 tons, respectively. Imports of copper-containing ashes and residues have been decreasing; from 5,400 tons of copper content in 1988 to less than 700 tons in 2002. Imports of ashes and residues increased slightly since 2003, reaching 8,700 tons in 2007, but were lower at less than 1,000 tons for 2009 through 2011.
Because many of these materials are associated with the brass and bronze making process, trade in zinc dross, skimmings, ashes and residues are also shown in Table 9. As measured in zinc content of zinc ash and residues , exports reached a peak in 1992, but declined through 1999 to 4,500 tons. Exports of zinc ash and residues increased significantly since that time to reach 25,000 tons in 2002, and 13,200 tons in 2004. Zinc residues exports were 9.350 tons in 2010 and 15, 460 tons in 2011, according to ITC reports. Zinc ash and residues imports steadily increased to around 24,300 tons, as measured in contained zinc through 1998, but then decreased to a range of between 14,000 and 17,000 tons until 2005. Zinc ash and dross imports were again higher at 33,750 tons in 2006 but have been lower for the past several years at less than 1,000 tons annually.
US Export Controls on Scrap
During periods of high military activity and difficult economic conditions, copper and copper-base scrap has been in such tight demand and scarce supply that US export controls and other restrictions have been placed on its use. Tight supply periods occurred in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, occasioned not only by requirements of the Vietnam War, but also by the effects of long copper mine labor strikes during the late 1960’s. To compensate for the severe shortages, more than 1 million tons of copper from the National Defense Stockpile were released. In addition, during the early 1970’s, price controls were briefly implemented. A review of the historical events surrounding the use of export and price controls relative to the copper market and the need for copper scrap may be found in Appendix A. Given the propensity for military efforts to use large amounts of copper and its alloys, as well as to cut off major sources for copper around the world at times, it is highly possible that export controls and the pressure for increased use of secondary copper can occur again. All of the remaining copper in the National Defense Stockpile was sold in 1993.