The United States Geological Survey (USGS) conducts regular studies to monitor the supplies of copper and other vital metals in the country and around the world. Part of their duty is to also note how much copper reserves are available, and what can be done to ensure that these supplies can meet the increasing demands of future years.
How Much Unused Copper Is There?
According to the USGS, there is no known threat to the supply of copper across the globe. In fact, there are millions of tons of copper reserves that are untouched within the earth’s crust. While leading copper-producing countries like Chile, Peru, and China continue to produce the metal to meet worldwide demands, the USGS still stresses the importance of responsible mining and recycling.
How Much Copper Can Be Recycled?
Statistics report that every year, countries around the world use up about 20 to 22 million tons of copper, along with its alloys like brass and bronze. From those figures, a significant amount of copper goes to the scrap pile. The USGS found that every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of copper can be recovered from mills, manufacturing plants, refineries, foundries, and other businesses in the country. When recycled, these copper parts can then be used once more. As the USGS reports, 31% of the current usable supply of copper in the nation is recycled.
Trends in the Future
Experts estimate that worldwide copper and brass sales will grow by 4% every year within the next decade. By then, the consumption of copper and its alloys will reach nearly 300 billion per year.