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Regulatory Trends Driving an Increase in Copper Demand


While not everybody agrees about how to treat, manage, and protect the environment, one thing that everybody in the copper industry can agree on is that environmental regulations have changed a lot over the course of the last 20 years. Based on several current trends, it does not look as though they will stop changing any time soon.

Here at Diversified Bronze, we focus on custom machining services rather than the mining and refining of the metals we work with, but that does not mean some of these trends won’t affect the way we do business. According to a recent report commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA), there have been big changes in the demand for copper of late, all of which have resulted in an increase in demand for the versatile metal.

Resource Conservation

Gone are the days where miners could simply enter a resource-rich area and scrape it dry of its valuable minerals and precious metals. Governments are growing ever-stricter in terms of mining regulations to help ensure that resources are environmentally sustainable, focusing specifically on eliminating waste by developing products and systems that are more efficient in their materials and design. Copper, for a number of reasons, is exactly the sort of metal to help with that.

Carbon Footprint

One of the most obvious ways that governments are attempting to help the environment is through a reduction in carbon emissions and through the production of cleaner sources of electricity like solar power and wind power. On the surface, it may not sound as though copper has much to do with these policies, but the aforementioned ICA report found that copper was an oft-used metal in the low-emission equipment and renewable energy tech that is responsible for reductions in carbon footprints. This, too, lends itself well to a boost in copper demand.

Control of Toxicity

Another regulatory trend has focused on the toxicity of certain products, which is good both for the people using those products and for copper, particularly since the latter is known for its long product life that minimizes the need for replacement. Other metals are not so kind, very often requiring replacement because they have grown toxic over time. That is, for example, precisely why we do not use lead water pipes any longer.

Social License to Operate

Beyond the scope of government regulations, if a community is not in support of a mining operation, it simply is not going to happen. Copper, however, has a long history of boasting business integrity, and since copper is such a profitable, environmentally-friendly metal, both in terms of mining it and recycling it, there is a good chance that any future SLO in relation to its mining will be easily attained.

Those that work in our custom machine shop can attest how important copper is to what we do here at Diversified Bronze. These trends skew well for a metal that matters quite a lot in our industry. It’s no wonder copper’s future looks so bright.