Copper

Copper Trading

Imperium Commodity Search manage relationships with copper traders, producers and brokers globally across physical and derivative traded products.  

What is Copper? 

Copper (Cu) is a base metal of reddish-orange colour, used in many industrial applications and one of the most widely mined/used metals in the world.  Copper is particularly conductive of heat and electricity and is one of only a few base metals that exists in a pure/usable form in the earths crust, known as a native metal.  Copper does not react with water but does react with oxygen, hence the often green tinted rooftops we see on older buildings with copper roofs.  The green colour comes from copper carbonate which formed through the oxidisation process. 

Primary Copper; The majority of copper is produced through smelting ores to produce concentrates.  Concentrates are then refined/produced into copper sheets, pipes, tubes, ingots etc for further use/trading.  Copper is most commonly extracted from sulphide and oxide ores.  The concentration process of these ores removes impurities and other materials and involves crushing/grinding the ores to powder form in a mill.  From sulphide, this powder is then smelted; a process of making the copper particles hydrophobic, allowing this to float and separate in its concentrated form.  

Secondary Copper; Copper is a commonly recycled product and can be recycled without damaging its quality or usability for future applications.  It is estimated that 80% of all copper mined is still in use today.  

Copper Uses 

Copper is commonly used in electrical equipment due to its conductivity as well as in heating applications such as boilers.  Copper also has good corrosive resistant properties and has been used in building/roofing for millennia.  Commonly also found in plumbing set ups and used as piping and cookware due to its heat conductivity and anti-corrosive properties. 

Copper is also commonly alloyed with other metals such as tin to produce bronze.  In the US, many coins are copper alloys due to their longevity and corrosive resistant nature.  Copper is also the metal most commonly alloyed with silver in sterling silver. 

How is Copper traded? 

Copper is physically traded globally due to its wide usage applications and concentrated mining geography.  Copper futures are traded across the LME (London Metal Exchange) and the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange). 

Doctor Copper is often used to describe the metal due to its indication of global growth.  Historically the copper price has correlated strongly with the global GDP growth/contraction and thus many investors use copper as a benchmark and indicator of global growth.  An investment in copper is, in essence, a position on a strong economy.   

Largest Copper Producers:

The name ‘Copper’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Cuprum’ which means ‘from the island of Cyprus’.  This is because Cyprus was one of the first ancient sources of copper.  The element symbol Cu is also from this name.  Nowadays however, the largest producers and miners of copper are situated in South America.  The 5 largest producers of copper globally (in million tonnes) are: 

  • Chile (5.5)
  • Peru (2.4)
  • China (1.6)
  • USA (1.2)
  • DRC (1.2)

Largest Copper Importers:

Copper is critical in a range of applications and is in large demand globally.  The current production of copper does not match global demand and many countries rely on imports to meet their domestic demand.  In 2017 the largest importers of copper (in USD) were: 

  • China (41.2bn)
  • Germany (10.9bn)
  • USA (9.9bn)
  • Italy (7bn)
  • Taiwan (5.7bn)

Who are the key players? 

The largest copper producing companies in the world are a mix of state owned entities and global commodity firms.  The largest 5 in terms of total production (in MT) are: 

  • Codelco (Chile)
  • Freeport McMoRan (USA)
  • BHP Billiton (Australia/UK)
  • Xstrata (Switzerland/UK)
  • Rio Tinto (UK/Australia)

What is the Salary for a Copper Trader? 

Copper Traders focus on different markets and sections of the processing chain of copper and the salaries vary dependent upon location, geographies traded and copper type.  Experienced traders specialising in concentrates can earn in excess of 200,000CHF in Switzerland and refined copper somewhere between 140-200kCHF.  Like most back to back traders, commission and revenue splits play a large part in the total remuneration package for copper traders. 

Copper Trading Recruitment from Imperium Commodity Search

Imperium Commodity Search are specialists in identifying suitable international opportunities in the global copper markets and have a broad network of candidates and clients across primary, secondary and refined product.   Our consultants pride themselves on staying in touch with the global metals market to offer valuable insight, advice and recruitment services to our partners.  

If you would like to discuss our experience in the copper trading markets or find out how we recruit for copper trading positions, please call us on +44 (0) 203 927 5090 or register online here and one of our metals recruitment consultants will be in touch. 

To view our current copper & metals brokerage, trading, operations and support vacancies click here or contact one of our consultants to discuss current careers / jobs in copper trading to discuss your needs in more detail. 

To arrange a consultation with a consultant to discuss your hiring needs / growth plans and where we can assist click here or contact one of our consultants directly here for a confidential discussion.

Contact Us

We are here to help. Speak to one of our experienced metals trading recruitment consultants now on +44 (0) 203 927 5090

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