This website uses cookies. Please refer to our cookies policy for further information. By continuing to use this website, you are consenting to the use of these cookies.


Skip navigation

Production and consumption

First traded on LME: 1877
Current specification introduced: April 1986
World production: 19.8 million tonnes per annum (2011)

Copper was one of the first metals to be mined and, with tin, was a fundamental component of the Bronze Age. It is in fact relatively easy to mine and refine and people discovered methods for extracting copper from its ores at least 7,000 years ago.

Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity which makes it invaluable for use in the construction and electrical goods industries. In the construction industry, it is used in the form of cables,wiring, plumbing, heating and ventilation and other building materials. It is also used extensively in the wiring and circuit boards of phones, computers and other electrical goods.

Copper also has excellent anti-microbiological properties which makes it suitable for the control of bacteria. It is also used in the chemical industries for medical and agricultural disease control.


World copper production 2011

Graph showing copper production by region


Asia 46
America 28
Europe 19
Africa 5
Oceania 2

Source: WBMS

Industrial consumption 2011

Graph showing copper consumption by sector


Market Sector%
Electrical/Electronic 31
Construction 25
Consumer & General 17
Transport 12
Industrial Machinery 10
Other 5

Source: CRU