Much like in most parts of the world, copper scrap metal is highly valuable in New Zealand. A few years ago, its price hit a historic high. It’s the reason why theft has been pandemic for a while now. Cash-strapped individuals even go as far as risk electrocution stealing copper from commercial and residential areas.
But why is it almost at the level of gold and silver in terms of value when it’s technically not a precious metal? Here are three explanations:
Copper (as well as its alloys, such as bronze and brass) is used in a long list of applications. It’s at the heart of marine architecture where salt water corrosion is an inherent concern. Its ability to withstand abrasion and wear has made a staple of industrial components. In construction, being rustproof has given copper the edge over ferrous metals. Lacking the tendency to spark, copper is likewise a favourite material for the manufacture of safety tools.
The world’s second-largest economy, China, is the number one exporter of copper. In 2012, it consumed about 43% of the world’s supply to sustain its economic growth. Without showing signs of slowing down dramatically in the foreseeable future, it’s safe to say that the country would continue to demand for copper. This is especially true when Chinese consumers reach the levels of North Americans per capita.
Another factor is the rise of subpar copper ore. Many investors are pouring money into it, affecting the global production. Many of the world’s copper mines are nearing the end of their economic viability, making the metal a bit more scarce—hence more valuable. Recyclers are filling the widening void being left by miners.
Copper has earned the name “red gold” for a reason. If you have some in your possession, strongly consider taking to a reputable recycler and earn instant cash.