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Local mines endure despite low copper prices

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BlueAlien   Sunday, 03/19/17 04:22:10 PM
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Local mines endure despite low copper prices

The price of copper has been in a steady decline since 2011, due primarily to a decreased demand from China. There are signs that this trend may be experiencing a slight recovery. The Chinese economy has begun to improve, and demand continues to outpace copper production. Analysts are cautious, but optimistic for the copper price forecast. The copper price closing on Sept 13th was $2.10, up slightly from the start of the month, but it still hovers near a six-year low.

Copper has been an important factor in humanity’s development. The metal is soft and easy to shape, though it is too soft to be useful to make tools. The discovery five millennia ago that combining copper with tin will create bronze, a much sturdier metal, launched the bronze age. Copper was the first strategic metal, and it became one of the first global trade goods.

The Gold Rush colonized California and Silver was the founding drive behind migration to Nevada, but for Arizona that building block was Copper. Many early Arizona towns were built by companies staking copper mining claims like Phelps Dodge. Places like Bisbee, Superior, Miami and Jerome exist only because of copper mining.

Arizona has been the largest producer of copper in America since the early 1900’s, producing almost 2/3 of the copper produced in the US. According to the Arizona Mining Association, the combined direct and indirect impact of copper mining was worth up to $34.2 Billion in the U.S. economy and 12.1 billion in Arizona. Copper is, in fact, one of the “Five C’s of Arizona”: Copper, Citrus, Cotton, Climate and Cattle.

In present day we use copper wiring and plumbing in our houses, there is copper in many parts of our cars, and copper is essential to linking our homes and businesses together via telecommunications. Copper’s high conductivity and malleability make it vital to today’s electricity driven world.


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