As if they had known that October is Copper Month here on AmericanResources.org, the current issue of the Economist features a story on what the publication calls “Red Bull – the world’s most informative metal.”
Leading off with an anecdote on the increase in copper theft (an issue we have previously discussed) serving as an indicator for changes to the global economy – hence the moniker “Dr. Copper” – the piece goes on to discuss the broader context of global copper demand, China’s role in it, and future supply challenges.
The future supply scenario, as outlined in the piece is less than rosy:
We’re looking at smaller, lower-ore-grade and less-accessible mines in riskier parts of the world, and increased red tape for new projects, as well as infrastructural and technical problems. Meanwhile, substitution, often heralded as a silver bullet, is not always that easy, and where it is, it usually has been done already.
While slowing growth in the U.S. and the Eurozone may see copper prices dip in the short term, China will seek to replenish its destocked inventories, and Dr. Copper will likely stay “hot” in the long run.
The question is, as China is gearing up to feed its copper appetite, is America doing enough to secure its future supply?