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US Trade in Copper and Copper Alloy Scrap
Copper has good regenerative properties which make it be recycled again. Copper scrap (copper)
refers to the copper mental without service life resulting from early copper consumption and
savings, so the history of copper consumption directly affects the future for the amount of copper
Regions Trade Patterns of the Copper Scrap
United States is one of the important transit countries in copper scrap trade. Canada, Mexico and
Chile are the main supplier of copper scrap of America.
As for export situation in 2006, for example, more than half of the copper scrap in these countries
are exported to the United States. As the world's biggest exporter of copper scrap, a large share of
US imported from these three countries copper scrap is exported to other countries.
Germany and Belgium are the main destination for copper scrap exporting to other European
countries. On the one hand, the industrial production of the two countries need a lot of copper
scrap, on the other hand, the two countries export to other countries such as China.
In addition, copper scrap recycling is affected by many factors, especially the absolute level of
copper price. High copper prices can greatly improve the enthusiasm of social copper scrap
recycling and can improve the overall recovery of copper scrap to a certain extent. And as the
whole society's attention to the economic sustainable development, the recycle of resources is paid
attention to the government and the social from all walks of life, all which can help improve the
recovery rate of copper scrap and our scrap of copper scrap on the whole.
The Supply of Global Copper Scrap
Drawing lessons from some professional organizations (such as Antaike) method, we can estimate
copper scrap recycling amount of the future society: taken together, the average service life of the
copper in various areas (building, electric power, transportation, etc.) will be about 30 years; As
for recovery of various fields , recovery was 80% in the field of construction of power cables and
power equipment recovery was 85%, the transportation and household appliances recovery was
around 80%, other copper products calculated at 70%, the recovery of copper products of
comprehensive recovery was 78.8%. Therefore, the number of copper scrap recycling this year
can use a rough estimate of copper consumption 30 years ago. For example, the copper scrap
recycling amount in 2008 = 1978 * 78.8% = 8.78 million tons of copper consumption amount *
78.8% = 6.92 million tons.
Using this method, combining with the history of global consumption of refined copper, we can
estimate the global waste copper scrap amount: 2000 was around 7.9 million tons, later will
slowly rise and reach 12 million tons in 2030 to the level. In general, the future global copper
scrap recycled amount will gradually rise to increase the position in the global copper raw material
US Trade in Copper and Copper Alloy Scrap
Copper and copper alloy scrap has significant value for the manufacturing industries of both the
US and other countries in the world. Copper base scrap as well as lower-graded copper materials
with by-product metal value, are all commodity-like materials that are traded and used like other
raw materials. Thus, recycled materials form an important part of the US copper both exports and
imports. This has been particularly significant in recent years since the manufacturing bases of the
Asian countries have been growing and demanding more raw materials. The domestic market for
scrap is still as large as exports though exports have been growing at a fast rate. US industry
consumption of scrap has decreased from about 1.77 million tons in 1997 to around 930,000 tons
in 2010. Net exports of copper scrap for 2011 were a little higher at 944,890 tons.
The copper scrap import and export situation of the United States
From the perspective of the export situation of copper scrap, the world's largest exporter of copper
scrap is the United States, the copper scrap exports in 2008 reached 2008 tons accounting for 19%
of global exports amount; Germany, followed by copper scrap exports in 2008 reached 2008 tons,
accounting for 9% of the world's total exports. In addition to both the United States, Germany,
Japan, Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and other western developed countries
are important source of the export of copper scrap, copper scrap exports each year are around
200000 tons, the country's share of global copper scrap copper scrap exports are more than sixty
percent of total exports. Considering the history of refined copper consumption and the average
service life, copper scrap recycling and export like this in the coming years will be no big change.
The United States (17% of world copper-base scrap exports in 2009) is the largest exporter of
copper scrap in the world. US exports of scrap have increased by 93% since 2000. Access to raw
materials, for instance, scrap, remains critically important for all US manufacturing industries.
The United States is a significant exporter of copper and copper alloy scrap, and has been the
world’s largest exporter of copper-based scrap since 1999. US net exports of scrap in 2011 were
estimated at 944, 890 tons, up from a net export of around 62,700 tons in 1993, and 140,000 in
1997. The most significant US scrap export destinations are in Western Europe and Asia. Although
the amounts have been declining since 1997, the United States also imports around 100,000 tons
per year of scrap. The most important US import sources of copper and copper alloy scrap in 2008
continued to be Canada (40%) and Mexico (35%). Scrap exports generally have been increasing
since the early 1970’s. Exports suddenly doubled between 1999 and 2000, and have remained well
over 500,000 tons annually since that time. Lower scrap imports and exports in 1996 through 1999,
were the result of the worldwide depressed copper prices, the strong US dollar and a temporary
setback in Chinese imports during the early part of this period. The lower scrap price and stronger
dollar also combined to make US scrap scarce for domestic buyers, as well as expensive for
foreign buyers over that short (1996-1999) period of time. Since 1999, however, foreign buyers
(principally China) have managed to outstrip local mills in competition for scarce purchased scrap.
US copper and copper alloy scrap exports set another record in 2011 reported at 1.239 million tons.
Since 2005, US trade statistics have tracked the type of scrap in its export statistics. While
unalloyed scrap exports remained around 350,000 tons per year until 2011, alloyed and mixed
scrap exports have escalated from around 300,000 tons in 2005 to 738,730 tons in 2010. The bulk
(80%) of this mixed copper and copper alloy scrap has been destined for China (USGS, Dec 2008
MIS). In 2012, unalloyed scrap exports reached an estimated 484,000 tons.
In lieu of scrap, primary copper at bargain prices between 1998 and 2003 provided a ready
substitute in the United States for those who could utilize it. However, owing to the types of
furnaces used, size of charge needed, and chemical requirements for certain alloys, this was not
possible for all secondary metal users, and the market became difficult for these industries. Those
mills and ingot makers that were dependent upon direct melt alloy scrap were highly affected by
the increased US exports.
The trend in US net scrap exports appears as a mirror image to the trend of copper recovered from
refined scrap. When refining from scrap (largely “old” scrap) is high, net exports (exports less
imports) are lower. Lower exports and higher imports of scrap in the early 1980’s were in part
owing to the stronger dollar of the period. Trade in low-grade, copper-containing ash and residues
has been recorded by the Bureau of the Census under HTS 262030 since 1989, when the
harmonized code was instituted in the United States. Prior to this nomenclature, the TSUS
standards and nomenclatures were used. For exports, the TSUS number is 6030010 and for
imports, it is TSUS 6035040. Exports of "ashes and residues containing mainly copper" are
reported in gross weight of material. The import data are in copper content, but it can be
extrapolated to gross weight for comparison with the USGS reports for consumption of
low-copper ashes and residues. Although the material may contain up to 65% copper, an average
copper content of 35% was used in estimating the gross weight for exports and imports.
The major trading partners receiving ashes, residues and slag from the United States for further
processing are Belgium,Canada, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom and, more recently,
China. Major import sources are the copper producers of Botswana, Chile, Mexico, Canada and
Australia. Copper ashes and residues exports increased from the early 1980's to reach 28,110 tons
in 1995, but then decreased to as low as 2,950 tons in 2002. Since 2004, copper ash and residue
exports again began to increase and, in 2007, and 2011 were 62,150 tons and 38,300 tons,
respectively. Imports of copper-containing ashes and residues have been decreasing; from 5,400
tons of copper content in 1988 to less than 700 tons in 2002. Imports of ashes and residues
increased slightly since 2003, reaching 8,700 tons in 2007, but were lower at less than 1,000 tons
for 2009 through 2011.
Because many of these materials are associated with the brass and bronze making process, trade in
zinc dross, skimming, ashes and residues are also shown in Table 9. As measured in zinc content
of zinc ash and residues , exports reached a peak in 1992, but declined through 1999 to 4,500 tons.
Exports of zinc ash and residues increased significantly since that time to reach 25,000 tons in
2002, and 13,200 tons in 2004. Zinc residues exports were 9.350 tons in 2010 and 15, 460 tons in
2011, according to ITC reports. Zinc ash and residues imports steadily increased to around 24,300
tons, as measured in contained zinc through 1998, but then decreased to a range of between
14,000 and 17,000 tons until 2005. Zinc ash and dross imports were again higher at 33,750 tons in
2006 but have been lower for the past several years at less than 1,000 tons annually.
There is another off-topic words: the adoption of quality and advanced copper recycling machines
improves the quality of the recycled copper, which also promote the trade of copper scrap among