Talk:Peak copper

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How about an update to the price of copper[edit]

A lot has happened since 2011 DannyJohansson (talk) 14:01, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

So where is it going?[edit]

Where is all the copper going? It's not being burned up, like oil. Perhaps the article could mention this. --Xyzzyplugh (talk) 11:34, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

The copper price graph needs units. pounds, tons, kilograms ???

Rick brade (talk) 05:01, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Where did all this come from?[edit]

For instance, Poland's production is in the 550,000 metric tonne region, not the 2 million tonnes given in the text (see the USGS figures). Chile's production is still expanding. There is no mention of the +3 billion tonnes of land based resources (USGS again). The payablility of these resources is very price sensitive. The whole thing smacks of the Club of Rome in the Seventies which was clearly compiled by people with virtually no knowledge of mining. As for the section on supply - words fail me. Beware of environmental analysts when they tangle with subjects that require a lot of specialist knowledge like mining. Mafestel (talk) 14:34, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Chile Decline[edit]

Cochilco(Comisión Chilena de Cobre) forecasts an increase in Chilean output to 6,718,000 tonnes by 2012 on currently announced plans compared with approx 5,700,000 tonnes in 2007, hardly the 'Irreverisble decline' from 2008 onwards forecast in the article. I am not sure whether articles like this that require a crystal ball have a place in Wikipedia Mafestel (talk) 15:12, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Seems to me, such information, properly sourced, belongs in the article. Jim.henderson (talk) 15:05, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, the key word being 'properly'. I've looked through several of the references/sources given and they range from naive to plain inaccurate and often demonstrate an alarming ignorance of the mining industry.Egoli (talk) 12:05, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
As it happens, I am even more ignorant of mining than the cited peakers, who seem to be economists. Bless economists in general, but sometimes they bite off a bit more than they know how to chew, thus inviting my skepticism. Anyway, what it takes is citation of good authority that production is indeed increasing contrary to the Chile forecast from 2006. Jim.henderson (talk) 15:43, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Jim - the Cochilco forecast I gave above is about as good a citation as you will find anywhere. Egoli (talk) 16:37, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Alas, the information is precise but the source is vague. If an official Web site displays that report and we can link to it, that's ideal. If it's a report in a newspaper's Web page, that's good. But if no better citation can be found than what we have, then I don't see how the report can be substantiated. Jim.henderson (talk) 18:07, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Jim - Cochilco would be extremely upset to be called vague. The Comisión Chilena del Cobre was formed by decree law 1349/76 in 1987 and the first article reads as follows - "Article 1° The Chilean Copper Commission is a functionally decentralized organism, with legal status and patrimony of its own. Its domicile is in Santiago. It relates with the President of the Republic through the Ministry of Mining.Its objective is to serve as a specialized technical advisor to the Government in subjects related with copper and its by-products, and with all metallic and non metallic minerals with the exception of coal, oil and gas. It also must perform some supervision tasks and others mentioned by this decree law." I can give you a lot more but then you can look it up yourself on the Cochilco web site.

As for a newspaper's web site report being good, don't make me laugh. I had many years dealing with journalists, and their ability to misunderstand and misinterpret mining stories is legendary. It does not seem to be generally appreciated that a fully fledged mine requires the services of at least four graduate disciplines - geology, mining engineering, minerals engineering and extractive metallurgy - to say nothing of the soil and rock mechanics experts and the various engineering disciplines. Stringing together words to satisfy a subeditor is not quite the same thing.

Sorry to jump onto my high horse but as an ex miner I am becoming progressively more distressed by the poor quality and naivity of so many mining articles in Wikipedia, to say nothing of those that are no more that dubious ecological propaganda Egoli (talk) 17:27, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Oops, I seem to have made myself misunderstood. Yes, ecological propaganda can provide great fun without supplying much hard information, but what I should have said is, the contrary information you supply is precise but the sourcing is vague. That is, we are unable to cite any official report in particular. Nobody has indicated that it was posted on any official Web site, or anywhere else we can read. That's the kind of defect that makes otherwise good information unusable. I do hope four or five graduate disciplines can be put to work at finding the report, or the vagueness of the citation can be remedied in some other way, some day. Jim.henderson (talk) 01:10, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Jim - look at, Cochilco's 2006 presentation to the International Copper Study Group (via the Cochilco web site) for copper production increase statistics. I can do no more to convince you of the reputability of Codelco, a Chilean government organisation, or of the regular inaccuracy of newspaper articles on mining. My comment on the various disciplines required in mining was an attempt to get across the complexity of mining, rather than to invite sarcasm, and that general journalists rushing into print about mining smacks frequently of 'Fools rushing in......'. The only journalists to trust are those writing for the specialist mining publications like the Mining Journal, Mineria Chilena etc.Egoli (talk) 09:03, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Cochilco info and reference included in article. See if I've fairly represented the viewpoints, and modify as needed. Plazak (talk) 14:07, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Excellent. Rather than restrict yourself to praising the missing document and its issuing institution, you found the document. That's what was needed. Perhaps the prose could do with a bit of touching up; I'll look again next week if nobody else adjusts it. As for Cochilco itself, the present article is not the place for its history, but perhaps it could become a section of the Codelco article or some other national copper one. The commission being less controversial than the subject of this Peak copper article, there isn't as much need to be picky about missing documents. Jim.henderson (talk) 17:07, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Jim - I gave you the address of the document on 13th August. None so blind as those that will not seeEgoli (talk)
Sorry to be so late getting back, but with the missing document found, acknowledged and incorporated, I busied myself with Wikiphotography and other matters. Yes, this Biblical admonition will be useful for anyone who may have failed to notice that 13 August was when I called the discovery "excellent". I hope similarly precise work can be done for Poland, Katanga, and other places. Jim.henderson (talk) 13:33, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Ok Jim, many misunderstandings but peace from now on, I hope. I have appended chapter and verse for the Polish entry below. All it needs is a simple deletion but I would rather that the author did it. Egoli (talk) 15:42, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

How about correcting the Polish entry now?[edit]

You state that Polish production peaked at 2 million tonnes in 1970. Go back and read your reference again (Its at the bottom of the article). The 2 million tonnes refers to ORE and not metal. A few lines further down it states tha 2002 production was 28.5 million tonnes of ORE, by my reckoning a substantial increase. Last year it was 30.26 million tonnes of ORE (look at the KGHM site, this is the Polish copper mining company) and they produced 532,974 tonnes of COPPER. Check it out on and (talk) 13:01, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. The figure of 2M tonnes of ore produced in the 1970s has been greatly exceeded (from
Copper production increased from 400,000t/y in the early 1990s to almost 500,000t in 2001. In 2003, KGHM mined 25.83Mt of ore averaging 1.99% Cu, and processed 1.88Mt of 26.76% Cu concentrates. Electrolytic copper output was 529,616t, ... In 2004, the total output was 550,000t of copper and 1,344t of silver. During 2005, the company mined 30.4Mt
Possibly someone confused ore with refined metal. I will remove the incorrect section on Poland (talk) 22:15, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Katanga stats[edit]

I've given you the latest position in Poland, whch flatly contradicts the article. Now to Katanga. Production had improved from 35,000 tonnes in 2002 to 132,100 tonnes by 2006,(see There were further small increases last year. Anvil mining expects to be producing over 100,000 tonnes by 2011 (see, First Quantum is planning 70,000 tonnes p.a.from Kolwezi ( The big one is that Freeport Copper have finally got Tenke Fungurume going(see which should start up next year (2009) at 250,000 lbs (113,400 tonnes) copper p.a.

By my reckoning Katanga should be producing 370,000 tonnes of copper by 2012 apart from any expansion that Gecamines might be planning, a pretty good recovery from 2003 and hardly a country in terminal decline.

So far I think I have shown that the three declining countries highlighted in the 'Peak Copper' entry are doing the opposite. The moral of the story is never to trust environmental commentators and their reports, especially old ones, without checking on their statements, which I have been able to do without much trouble. I am not anti environmentalist but I am against their leaping onto high horses on subjects that they clearly don't understand or can't be bothered to research thoroughly. Egoli (talk) 14:00, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

The Zaire section of the article appears to have nothing to do with resource exhaustion, but rather with wartime difficulties. Is there any reason to even include it in an article on Peak Copper? Plazak (talk) 14:21, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Sure. Something about how the timing of peak production there is more a question of peace than how much ore is there. Jim.henderson (talk) 14:57, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually I seem to remember that there was a problem with exhaustion of the existing mines and a mine collapse but it was some time ago and I cannot recall details. Tenke Fungurume has been waiting to be developed for years but there were both metallurgical and logistical problems which have at last been overcome. A return to the old days looks unlikely but output is picking up, which is the point here. By the way, Zaire no longer exists - it is the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Congo Kinshasa or just Congo. Take your pick.Egoli (talk) 18:32, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, misread the peak Gecamines output which was nealt 480,000 tonnes copper in 1987 so the old levels might be reached again. They claim reserves/resources of 56 million tonnes copper to be developed but politics are still the big stumbling block. They have a nasty habit of trying to renegotiate agreements in their favour once they are up and running. Freeport Copper is currently having just this problem with Tenke Fungurume. Sorry to ramble on but this has been an area that has interested me for the past 50 years or so after the Belgians flocked down to South Africa after the nationalisation with horror stories and some impressive stolen cars.Egoli (talk) 19:06, 21 August 2008 (UTC)


Do I detect a reluctance to correct the inaccurate items in 'Peak Copper'? Or would you mind it I had a go?Egoli (talk) 17:49, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

That's what editors do. You are an editor. Go at it. Plazak (talk) 13:53, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm slightly reluctant to do this because it partially destroys the point of the article. I would be quite happy to do a complete rewrite because I think that Peak Copper is far more complex subject and a lot farther away than the authors think. Also I am rather unhappy with several of the references that are quoted, being either of dubious provenance or out of date. I'll have a go and see what you think.Egoli (talk) 19:38, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
Any wiki article on a controversial theory should include a discussion of both pros and cons, claims and counter-claims. The "point of the article" should be to provide accurate information, not to push a particular view pro or con. Plazak (talk) 19:46, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

price-demand elasticity of copper[edit]

What amounts and percentages are recycled, per year, for the last century and more, year by year? How does the price influence this? What are the practical and theoretical limits on recycling percentage? This is extremely important, in theory, since we just need to "use" copper -- we don't need to "consume" it. So, we could have ever-increasing amounts in use, if we could recycle it all at the end of use.

What is the price-demand elasticity of copper, short-term and long-term? Based on what evidence?

This is a strange article. It is rather obvious that copper will get more and more expensive, be used with greater and greater care, new mining production will eventually decline, recycling will get higher and higher, and alternative substitute resources will be found. Somehow the article avoids a realistic picture of the future, and seems to imagine "suddenly" running out of copper. - (talk) 12:58, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, the article seems to have originated as an exercise in crisis-mongering, but the addition of balancing information, including a mention of scrap, has somewhat toned it down in the past few months; thus it no longer has a consistent WP:POV. Jim.henderson (talk) 04:48, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


The last reference The Ultimate Resource 2, by Julian Simon

should be more precice, this actually is a text file which contains the text of a book and it has 40 cahapters and ach chapter has it's own web page. So the reference should also mention the chapter. --MrBurns (talk) 02:10, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Copper Demand edit and link removal[edit]

I received this 'new message' when logged on:

" or more of the external links you added do not comply with our guidelines for external links and have been removed...Thank you. is not a reliable source. Yworo (talk) 23:53, 24 February 2011 (UTC) Retrieved from "" Hidden categories: User talk pages with Uw-spam1 notices"

Can anyone tell me what was it about the external link that did not comply as I see the format used in other areas of Wikipedia.

Who or by what criteria could have been used to arrive at the assertion that is not a reliable source? It is a very well established site.

I added (under'Copper Demand'): "In December 2010, the substantial $1.5 billion purchase by J.P. Morgan Chase could amount to over half of the known global reserves."

QQujt (talk) 01:51, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Presumably you didn't actually read the reliable sources policy linked in the message. We are looking for reliable news sources, preferably peer-reviewed journals. Articles need to have authors, and sites need to have published editorial staff and policies. This site has neither. It's a site with information, yes, but that information is there simply to drive traffic for Google ads and other advertising. It does not cite its own sources, and there is no way to determine reliability when the site gives no information about who is writing the articles or what the site editorial policy is. The sentence itself is speculative and verges on conspiracy theory. Such a claim requires high-quality sources. Can you find an article on say Bloomberg, in the Wall St. Journal or the New York Times about this purchase? These are examples of the type of high-quality sources we are looking for. Yworo (talk) 02:30, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Need to have an editorial staff? I wouldn't have enough time to point out all the sources on wikipedia that do not fit this category.

"...that information is there simply to drive traffic for Google ads and other advertising..." That's a little more than presumptive.

"The sentence itself is speculative and verges on conspiracy theory."

Conspiracy theory? You must be joking. Such a statement can't be serious.

QQujt (talk) 18:36, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

No, I'm not joking. It's a kind of prices are being manipulated though massive trades implication. And the fact that other article's references are inadequate does not excuse adding yet another inadequate reference. Rather, the other inadequate references in other articles need to be replaced or removed. Again, read the policy and do your best to conform with it. Yworo (talk) 19:20, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and the comment about the domain is far from "little more than presumptive". It's registered to Westworth Management LC which owns 1300 domains. Other domains include,,,, etc. It's a domain farm for income from Google ads. They have no expertise in any particular subject and there can be no presumption that the information contained on this sitefarm is in any way reliable. Yworo (talk) 19:38, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Well I am not going to labor this, other than to say that I'm glad you had checked the domain. But it is - singular, with an address listed. plural looks like a templated site. I am trying to keep this on an objective, positive note, Yworo. The site has other information which I would like to reference -- even where wikipedia says "This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it." But of course not if its just going to be removed and cause some lost time and effort to be expended for multiple persons. QQujt (talk) 19:53, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out my error. (singular) is registered to a Brad Fratilla of Lebanon, Ohio. So this appears to be a personal, self-published, site. A quick Google search does not reveal that Brad Fratilla is notable; an Amazon search does not return any published books by him. The relevant policy would then be WP:SPS: "Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason self-published media—whether books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, blogs, personal pages on social networking sites, Internet forum postings, or tweets—are largely not acceptable... Self-published material may be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." Fratilla does not appear to meet the exception to this policy.
Please explain exactly how conforms with our reliable sources policy. Yworo (talk) 19:55, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

The source rules are strict, no doubt, excluding self-published works. The site is an educational site, with quite a bit of depth and breadth on futures and options trading, commodites, markets, etc, which seems to be logically interlocking on topics of specialized knowledge, and this does imply assurances to a degree, along with the fact that there is a time advantage, in that much of the material has preceeded other succeeding material, having been started and 'on record' since 2006. Too, it is not endorsed or sponsored by a single party (larger media conglomerate) which may, in itself, lend objectivity of interest. These to me speak much, but whether the site meets the reliable source criteria stated is debatable and perhaps winnable only under possible exception. To be honest, and no to be sarcastic, I would have a hard time even citing someone like investopedia to adhere properly, though I know it to be reliable. QQujt (talk) 03:08, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

If you'd like other opinions, you could ask at the reliable sources noticeboard. However, observing that board is where I've learned what I know about how to determine whether a source is reliable. Investopedia is notable enough to have a Wikipedia article. Was run by a publishing company, Forbes, not an individual. Now still run by a company, not an individual. That's really a key difference. I'm not sure whether WikiProject Finance considers it reliable though. Yworo (talk) 14:23, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Another equation[edit]

this youtube video by Albert A. Bartlett has an equation at 4:36 which differs from others here. its called the "Expiration Time or "T sub E", of a non-renewable resource whose rate of consumption is growing steadily". I think its highly relevant to all of the articles on peak resource use and limits to growth. If anyone else thinks his equation is relevant, can they transcribe it? the math is beyond me, and i cant reconstruct it from the image on screen.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 02:07, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

USGS table - notes[edit]

Seeing that the table ended with 2008 and that the USGS website had data up to 2012, I decided to add those columns to the table. It should be checked again though.

The documents used are from 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. They contain actual data for the year-2 entries, but the year-1 entries are estimates. You could get the actual data for them from the other documents on the site. That would make the list of refs twice as long though.

In the most recent document (2012), Congo (Kinshasa) is also in the list of countries. It wasn't in the 2010 document. It's not a huge producer, but the numbers may be slightly off because of this. Should probably be corrected by adding it to the Other Countries line.

If the table is getting too large, the earliest columns could be removed, but that would make the peaking that the article is about less clear.

-- (talk) 10:46, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Peak Copper - Recycled Metal Application Limitations[edit]

This article provides data on the volume of copper being recycled, but does not address the specific usability of this recycled copper.

Basically, copper that was used in a high voltage capacity - high power electric lines, motor and transformer windings, high amperage switch plates, etc., suffer a type of metal fatigue - a break down of the metal's molecular bonding - which ultimately results in a lower carrying capacity. Simply recycling this metal does not restore the carrying capacity. Recycling typically is nothing more than a smelting and blending with some percentage of virgin copper and other recycled copper that was used in other applications rather than electric load.

It is now common that companies that manufacture copper products and need to achieve a required specification - primarily for electrical carrying capacity - must be aware of the percentage of virgin copper vs. recycled copper in the metal they source. This has resulted in a higher awareness particularly of the copper coming from China as it has been shown that China is using a much higher virgin copper percentage for their own infrastructure in comparison to the recycled copper products they are exporting.

If, for example, the recycled copper used in a new winding was sourced from a recycled copper product that itself experienced high electrical load, it is predictable that the new motor or transformer will not perform to engineered specification. There is a project within the ANSI offices currently to establish load carrying capacities of copper entering the U.S. market for public safety and civil infrastructure reliability.

It should be noted that this issue negates the general concept that copper is infinitely recyclable and that the windings of the motors in an EV for example can be reused for new windings for a new EV. It provides solid argument that EV's are, in fact, "burning" the metal vs. petroleum and that Peak Copper - at least for the common applications of electrical wiring, motor and transformer windings, switch plates, etc. - may have already passed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Spfrazer (talkcontribs) 05:01, 4 August 2015 (UTC)