NEWS
Copper  

From turbines to thermostats: copper miners eye high-tech demand

Growing demand for smart thermostats, wind turbines and other high-tech devices is expected to keep copper the dominant material used in electrical components, industry players said, offsetting rising use of aluminum, a cheaper alternative to conduct electricity.

That bodes well for the likes of Chilean producer Codelco, Rio Tinto Plc and other major copper miners, who are investing billions of dollars to bring new supplies of the metal online during the next 20 years.

Copper is used to make motors, batteries, wiring and other goods as it is the best electrical-conducting metal, after silver. Aluminum, which is lighter and cheaper than copper, shares some of these traits, but is more corrosive and brittle than its red rival and only about 60 percent as conductive.

"Copper is going to be central to the green revolution," Charlie Durant, a CRU analyst, said at the World Copper Conference this week in Santiago.

So-called smart-home systems – such as Alphabet Inc's Nest thermostat and Amazon.com Inc's Alexa personal assistant – will consume about 1.5 million tonnes of copper by 2030, up from 38,000 tonnes today, according to data from consultancy BSRIA.

"We'll need more copper to meet that demand," Anette Meyer Holley, a BSRIA consultant, said at the conference.

Most smart homes, for instance, use 1,000 meters (0.62 miles) of wiring to connect those devices, containing about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of copper in total, BSRIA estimates.

Electric vehicles, which use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines, are seen as a major growth area as well, not just for the sheer number of cars expected to be produced, but also battery chemistry.

Attempts to replace copper in a lithium-ion battery's anode with aluminum have failed so far, because lithium reacts with aluminum and corrodes.

"There's lots of skepticism around the use of aluminum in solar and wind, providing a boost for copper" — Benjamin Freas, analyst at Navigant Research

"It's an unfortunate side effect that means copper is essential," Na Jiao, an analyst at consultancy IDTechEx, said at the conference. "Copper is regarded as the best candidate for lithium-ion battery anodes connectors."

Solar panels and wind turbines are also seen as key areas of copper demand growth, with more than 55 percent of copper consumption to come from energy transmission and distribution through 2040, according to the International Energy Administration.

"We know that the future of a modern, efficient digital world is copper," Don Lindsay, chief executive of Canadian miner Teck Resources Ltd, said at the conference.

Aluminum can be used in turbine wiring, but it can shrink inside wiring, potentially causing fires, reducing its appeal.

"There's lots of skepticism around the use of aluminum in solar and wind, providing a boost for copper," said Benjamin Freas, an analyst at Navigant Research, said at the conference.

Copper's appeal pressures miners to produce more, with mines under construction in Panama, Indonesia and even the United States.

"There's likely to be a shortage of copper in the near future due to the electrification trend," John Black, chief executive of junior copper miner Regulus Resources Inc, said at the conference.

In China, which consumes half the world's copper, electronics manufacturers vastly prefer the metal to aluminum due largely to corrosion concerns, said Krisztina Kalman-Schueler of DMM Advisory Group.

"There is not enough motivation to change copper to aluminum across China," Kalman-Schueler said.

Paradoxically, the copper industry sees a boon in the wireless trend, which has sparked concerns about information security and health hazards from radio waves, especially in homes.

"Wireless is king, but concerns over the security and health of wireless will make wiring still very much appealing," Martin Bergemann of Siemens AG said at the conference.

News No: 4324
Date: 2019/04/11 - 17:12
News Source: MINING.COM

turbines  copper miners  material  electrical  thermostats 

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

   
   
   
 

Daily Update: Indian Semis Offers Rise

Indian spot steel prices sharply surge by INR 300-600/MT in a day on improved demand in finished steel products amid positive outlook. The sources have reported better response from the stockiest & end user segment.
 

Lithium Australia achieves high-purity lithium phosphate from waste materials

Following the development of a process to generate lithium phosphate from waste materials, Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced this week that its experts have now developed a technique for removing impurities from the lithium phosphate resulting in an exceptionally high-purity refined product.
 

India: SAIL Pig Iron Auction Receives Dull Response Despite Reduction in Base Price

SAIL's pig iron auction conducted today for 12,000 MT steel grade pig iron from its Rourkela Steel plant (Eastern India) has received weak response with around 70% material remaining unsold.
 

Dalian Iron Ore Futures Up as Vale Holds Resumption at Brucutu Mines

China iron ore future edged up 4% today due to supply crisis from Vale over delay in resumption at Brucutu mines. Vale on Monday (6th May) was ordered by the Minas Gerais Court of Justice (Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de Minas Gerais - "TJMG") to hold production at its Brucutu mines.
 

Central India: Bajrang Power and Ispat Concludes Two Pellet Export Deals

Central India based pellet maker - Shri Bajrang Power and Ispat Ltd has concluded two pellet export deals recently. SteelMint has learned from company officials that the deal has been concluded at around USD 117/MT, CFR China. Material shipment is scheduled for June.
 

Daily Update: Indian Semis Offers Volatile

Spot steel prices remain volatile following subdued trade activities in domestic market. As per participants, average movement in Semis products, while in finished products stocks have been rise with the mid sized mills.
Upcoming Events
Publications
 Mines & Metals

Mine & Business Today

 Scrap & Recycling

Ahangan

Our partners