Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Peak Resources Part III...Copper

In my other posts on More peak resource information...Copper!, I showed how when copper prices rose then the market found substitutes. One was the elimination/reduction in the use of copper in coinage. And the second one was the rise of the use of fiber optics in communications instead of copper. There was also another development that helped extend recovery of copper (Man's knowledge of copper must date back for at least six thousand years):
At the beginning of the present century the world's annual demand for copper was about half a million tons; the United States produced about half this total, whilst Britain's output had fallen to a mere token figure. Today the annual consumption is now more than nine times as large. This dramatic rise in the intervening sixty years can be attributed partly to population growth but mainly to the tremendous technological advances which have received impetus from two World Wars. In the Second World War the demand for copper most certainly could not have been satisfied, but for an invention in 1921, when Perkins patented his process of chemical flotation. This made it possible to mine ores which, up to that time, had been regarded almost everywhere as worthless. Some attempts at flotation of crushed ores had been made ever since 1860, but the process only became commercially important after the 1914-18 war. The Raw Material
This site should also be noted for the history of Copper.

Without going into a great deal about Hubbert peak theory, I want to show his basic bell curve that he uses for his theories on "Peak Oil":

So now let us look at Yearly Silver Production in metric tonnes (1900-to-2001)

This is very important since we can see at least 4 "peaks" with the tail looking like another peak. So much for copper showing any aspect of Peak production even after 6 thousand years. We have to wonder if "Peak Oil" has any merit also.

Haha, fooled my self, that was silver above and now for copper:

The Y scale is Metric Tons. Again we see at least three peaks earlier in the 20th century. But even after 6 thousand years we are not at the "Peak"?
Note: the two previous charts are derived from numbers out of Historical Statistics for Mineral and Material Commodities in the United States.

Links:
Penny less than sum of parts

Interesting facts from Copper.org:

The Hubbert Peak for World Oil

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