Around half of global copper demand is from the electronics industry and roughly one quarter finds application in building and construction. The remainder find its way into industrial machinery, consumer products and – important in terms of growth potential – the vehicle market, specifically electric vehicles.
Vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines typically contain about 20 kilograms of copper. For electric vehicles the copper load is up to 80 kilograms (and increased quantities of cobalt, nickel, manganese).
Almost all carmakers are increasing investment in electric vehicles as governments adopt tighter emissions targets, he added.
In a recent report consultants McKinsey forecast that barring large-scale substitution by aluminum and other materials or a significant increase in recycling, primary copper demand could potentially grow to 31 million tonnes by 2035 as per capita usage rates in emerging markets, particularly in China, approach levels in developed economies. The prediction represent more than 40% growth from today's annual demand levels of around 22 million tonnes.