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What Makes Copper Valuable?

Posted by rafael on January 21, 2013 in News

You may have heard about people who are scavenging for copper, since it’s been a valuable commodity for several years. What makes copper so valuable is its many uses. It is one of the best conductors of electricity and used in wiring for homes, buildings, motors and vehicles. It’s also a material that is used for plumbing, roofing, heating and air-conditioning systems, used as currency and art.

Prices

The price of copper has remained fairly steady in spite of the construction slowdown in the U.S., mainly because of strong economic growth in China and India. Copper is used primarily for wiring and to make the coils for heating and cooling equipment. As countries grow their economies, more people are driving cars, erecting buildings that use heating and cooling equipment, and have more wiring. Factories require a good deal of electricity, which copper delivers safely and efficiently.

Copper wires also transmit electricity from the power plant to the users. As the world demand for power increases, more transmission lines have to be put in place to deliver it. Copper windings in motors conduct the electricity most efficiently. In fact, copper’s ability to conduct electricity is only exceeded by far more precious metals, including gold, silver and platinum.

Copper

Copper

The price for copper varies, as do all commodity products. When copper is in high demand, prices escalate. Copper is mined from underground deposits and used copper is recyclable, which is why some people hunt for items made from it or that contain it. Most of the copper mines in the U.S. are in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Michigan and Montana. Worldwide, Chile leads in copper production. When prices of this useful metal climb, cash for copper increases and it can be a way to supplement an income. When anything interrupts the mining of copper, like a labor strikes, earthquakes or flooding, prices can rise.

Other Uses

Copper is also highly valued as a roofing material. It adds architectural appeal to buildings and makes an exceptionally durable roofing material. Coatings made with copper in health care establishments or hospitals lower the spread of germs and bacteria, since copper has antibacterial properties.

Artists have used copper for centuries to fashion jewelry, adorn picture frames or create sculptures. The metal is easy to shape and over time, develops a turquoise patina. The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the best example of copper used in art that endures. After centuries of exposure to the elements, this national landmark boasts the depth and rich oxidation that is a natural process for this most basic element.

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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=copper&ex=1#ai:MP900289900|

Eric Regan is a part of a writing team that has published articles on many different sites and blogs

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