Copper is widely considered as one of the key cyclical commodities given its extensive usage in construction, infrastructure and an array of equipment manufacturing. The biggest end-use is for the production of cables, wiring and electrical goods because of its excellent electricity conducting properties.The construction sector is the second largest user of Copper for plumbing, HVAC and building wiring applications.
Although found in abundance and widely extracted as well as recycled, the Copper value chain is quite capital intensive making the market susceptible to supply-side constraints and, thereby, volatile price fluctuations.
Scrap Copper prices of today are much higher than most other metals out there such as aluminum or brass. This is true in both cases, when purchasing and selling Copper. Highest grade Copper can be prices up to $4 per pound.
While the price of scrap Copper remains fairly competitive with scrap metal recyclers, it does often change with the market, and some recyclers will pay slightly more than others.
There are also many determining factors as to how much is paid for Copper:
- The type of Copper.
- The location.
- On the market and salvage yard.
There are 3 main categories of Copper:
- Grade 1 Copper.
- Grade 2 Copper.
- Grade 3 Copper
Additionally, Copper is broken down into several other categories including whether it is bare or insulated, soldered or stripped and clean or not clean. Each type of Copper is placed into a category by what type it is. The category it is placed in determines what it is worth.
Grade 1 Copper is the highest priced of them all. This includes things like shiny, bright wires and tubing. Grade 1 Scrap Copper consists in clean, unalloyed, uncoated copper parts, in example: Copper clipping, punchings, bus bars, commutators segments, clean copper pipe or tubing and copper wire above 1/16″ (not burned).
Grade 2 Copper shall consist of clean unalloyed Copper wire, free of hair wire, brittle burnt wire and excessive oils minimum copper content of 94% remelt recovery rate. Equivalent to ISRI code Birch. Grade 2 Scrap Copper consists of clean unalloyed copper material, such as: clean oxidized copper clipping, clean coated copper clippings. punchings, bus bars, clean oxidized copper pipe or tubing (clean and free of excessive solder), commutator segments.
Grade 3 Copper consists of miscellaneous, unalloyed Copper scrap having a nominal 92% copper content (minimum 88%) as determined by electrolytic assay and shall consist of sheet Copper, gutters, downspouts, kettles, boilers, and similar scrap. Should be free of the following: Burnt hair wire; Copper clad; plating racks; grindings;copper wire from burning, containing insulation; radiators, fire extinguishers; refrigerator units; electrotype shells; screening; excessively leaded, tinned, soldered scrap; brasses and bronzes; excessive oil,iron and non-metallics; and should be reasonably free of ash. Hydraulically briquetted cop-per subject to agreement. Any items excluded in this grade are also excluded in the higher grades above.
image: Southern Resources