Copper is a major industrial metal, an essential mineral, element, and possesses high ductility, malleability, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion. Copper is found in deposits of raw ore in many parts of the world, however, small amounts of copper are occasionally found as distorted cubic crystal chunks. Copper metal is recognized as the center of technological advancement with its wide range of applications. It is used in the production of brass, copper sheet products, copper tubes and is used in manufacture of more than 450 alloys on a global scale. Copper cathode in Europe is manufactured using copper with purity of more than 95%. It is the chief raw material used in the production of copper rod, which is utilized in several industries for various production processes due to its excellent electrical conductivity.
According to the study “Europe Copper Cathode Industry Situation and Prospects Research Report”, refining process is one of the major processes for manufacture of copper cathode which removes the impurities from copper ore. Europe copper cathode market is segmented based on refining processes such as smelting and electro-refining. Smelting is a process of extracting pure form of copper from crude ore. This process utilizes heat and chemical reducing agent for decomposition of copper ore, elimination of unwanted slag, and other elements to obtaining pure copper cathode. Refining copper ore in the presence of aqueous solution for extracting pure form of copper cathode at its maximum is termed as electro-refining. Copper cathode is used in oil industry, gas industry, chemical labs, and various other industries such as power generation, telecommunications, electronic circuits, power transmission, and various types of electrical equipment. Copper cathode manufactured is a good conductor of electricity and possesses good resistance characteristics.
Major research is carried out in electro-refining process to reduce cost and to recover valuable impurities such as gold, silver, and nickel from crude ores. Geographically, Europe copper cathode industry is spread across Germany, Russia, UK, France, Italy and other regions. Various products types in Europe’s copper cathode market are standard quality level and high quality level. Copper cathode is used in manufacturing of conductors, electronic products and in other industries. The global players in European copper cathode industry are Freeport McMoran (USA), Aurubis (Germany), Jiangxi Copper Company (China), Glencore Xstrata (Switzerland), Tongling (China), Southern Copper (Peru), JX holdings (Japan), Sumitomo (Japan) and BHP Billiton (USA). All the leading vendors in Europe’s copper cathode industry are increasingly investing on research to manufacture more long-term reliable copper cathodes.
The key market challenges in Europe’s copper cathode market are poor resistance to abrasion, common acids and low tensile strength. The capital investment for electro-refining process in copper cathode industry is very high and has shorter life expectancy. Copper cathode possesses high ductility properties compared to other metals with the exception of silver and gold. The market for copper cathode industry in Europe is extensive due to evolution in industrialization and development of its existing infrastructure. This trend will continue over the next few years due to increased consumption in Europe.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications