When copper was once the dominant element in copper and zinc ore, it was an essential component of the everyday life of millions of people across the globe.
Today, however, copper has been replaced by other minerals, such as iron and zinc.
Copper was the primary component of copper ores mined for the past few decades, but that wasn’t always the case.
Today copper ore is a major energy-producing commodity, with its supply of electricity reaching as high as 70% of world production.
With a world population of 8.2 billion people, it is a crucial part of our lives, and copper remains the most widely used mineral in the world.
In fact, copper is the third most valuable mineral after gold and silver, and it accounts for roughly half of the world’s total reserves.
Yet copper mining has been largely unregulated since its inception.
Many mines have been closed or heavily damaged in recent decades, while others have been destroyed and replaced by newer mines that have produced far more ore.
This has led to copper prices going up and out of control, with copper now trading at more than $1,200 per pound.
This chart shows how copper prices have changed since 2000.
In the chart above, the copper price has increased almost every year from 2000 to 2014, with the biggest spike in 2014 occurring at the peak of the copper boom.
This is due to an increase in the demand for copper ore and the rising price of the precious metal itself.
But despite the massive rise in prices, copper mining still has many drawbacks.
While copper mining is generally profitable for the mining company, many people still pay the price for the waste generated by mining copper ore.
Many copper mines are still largely unregulated, and these unregulated mines often operate in an environmentally unsound way, creating more than 50 million tons of toxic wastewater each year, which contaminates the water of surrounding communities.
These harmful effects are not limited to copper mines.
In 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that more than 60 million tons in drinking water contaminated with copper and lead were released into waterways, while another 13 million tons were discharged into groundwater in the United States.
The copper industry has also struggled to compete with cheaper, cleaner alternatives.
At the end of the day, the price of copper ore remains an important commodity in the global economy, and the current market for copper mining continues to grow at a rate that is nearly unprecedented.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy