In February 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its first annual copper price index, which tracks the price of copper in the Australian market.
While the index is often used by policy makers to gauge the health of the copper market, it has been used by many economists as a proxy for the health or viability of the Australian copper industry.
It’s an important indicator of the state of the industry.
The latest update from the ABS showed the copper price in the copper-rich state of Queensland had increased by a significant 4.5 per cent in February, compared with the same month last year.
The index, released last month, showed that the median price of a kilo of copper was $3.85 in January, up by a dollar or two from the same time last year, and up by more than two per cent on the same week last year.(Supplied: Australian Copper Association)Copper is a relatively cheap metal.
At around $1.30 per kg, it’s one of the cheapest metals in the world.
And it’s also one of Australia’s most abundant metals.
But copper has also faced severe supply and demand pressures in recent years.
A recent report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) found that over the last two years, the copper mining sector has experienced a 24 per cent decline in coal mining output, a 23 per cent increase in copper-based mining activity, and a 40 per cent decrease in copper and aluminium mining.
This means that Australia’s copper industry is facing a serious headwind.
Copper prices are expected to rise by more in the future, as the mining boom slows and the mining industry adjusts to lower prices.(Suppressed: Photo: Australian Bureau for Statistics)To see how the market has responded to copper prices, we asked a few experts to give their thoughts on the state and health of Australia.
Here’s what they had to say.
Professor Tom Williams, Director of the School of Economic and Business Studies at RMIT University’s School of Economics, and an expert in copper mining, said that while copper prices have been rising for years, they had actually been dropping in recent months.(Suppress: Photo by: Richard Connor)”It has been a really hard month for copper mining in Australia,” he told us.
“This is not a silver bullet.
If we are not careful we will end up in a situation where prices will have to rise even higher to offset the fall in coal output, and the decline in the mining output.”
Copper prices will rise, but copper mining will not.
“Professor Williams said the recent mining boom in Queensland has been an important factor in the rise in copper prices.(Photos: Richard Clayton)Coppers prices have increased in the last couple of months.”
If we are going to see a strong rebound in copper, we need to see the industry take that recovery as seriously as the industry has taken in the past,” he said.”
The boom has been great for the industry, but we will need a lot more from the mining sector to make it happen.
Professor Richard Clayton, an expert on mining economics at the University of Tasmania, agreed that the recent downturn was a major issue for the mining and coal industries.(Photos and videos courtesy of the American Association of Mining Economists.)”
The current downturn is really worrying for the Australian economy and our coal industry.”
Professor Richard Clayton, an expert on mining economics at the University of Tasmania, agreed that the recent downturn was a major issue for the mining and coal industries.(Photos and videos courtesy of the American Association of Mining Economists.)
Professor Clayton said it was difficult to know exactly how copper prices would rise, because copper prices tend to be volatile.
But he said that if copper prices rose above $40 per kg in a few years, it would be a “very big issue” for the copper industry.(Suppression: Photo of Professor Clayton by Andrew Gennaro)Professor Clayton also said that as a result of the slump in coal and mining, the cost of mining copper has increased.(Suppressing: Photo courtesy of Australian Copper Manufacturers Association)”There has been the decline of the mining industries,” he added.
“That’s a really bad thing.”
That means there will be less copper available to meet the needs of the miners and the Australian community.
It also means that the mining companies will be taking a much bigger hit than the copper companies in terms of their ability to reinvest in their mines.
“Professor Clayton told us that a stronger dollar has reduced demand for copper in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.(Suppresses: Photo Courtesy of Australian Tin and Mineral Co.)
Professor Clark and Professor Williams agreed that mining and copper have been a big driver of copper prices in recent times.(Suppressive: Photo and video courtesy of American Association for Mining Economies)Professor Clark also said the current downturn has been particularly challenging for copper miners.(Photos courtesy of Australia Tin and Minerals Association)Professor Clarke also said there were a lot of “bad news” for copper companies, with