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Copper properties (malleability, ductility, excellent conductor of heat and electricity, resistance to corrosion, antimicrobial effect) explains its versatile usage :
- Equipment (31%)
- Construction (29%)
- Infrastructure (16%)
- Transport (13%)
- Industrial (11%).
Copper consumption has followed economic growth in the 20th century, and is boosted by higher needs with digital (mobile phones) and electric usages. Electric vehicles contain approximately four times more copper than conventional cars.
Production costs of copper ores increased due to the long-running trend of dropping grades in mines and due to longer lead times from discovery to production. However, recycling of copper scraps favours the usage of secondary copper. It is estimated that 33% of global copper use comes from recycled copper.