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Copper Use for Wind Power, Infrastructure Seen Aiding Demand

Copper usage in wind turbines and other renewable-energy products will help drive demand for the metal, according to Bernd Langner, a former member of producer Aurubis AG’s board.

Infrastructure projects in emerging economies and demand from top global copper consumer China also will continue to fuel usage, according to Langner. A windmill contains about 8 metric tons of copper, with a further 5 to 8 tons needed for power connections, he said.

Langner, author of “Understanding Copper,” spoke in a telephone interview yesterday from Winsen (Luhe), Germany.

On copper demand:

“Infrastructure, China will drive copper demand. Renewable energy is also a big factor.

“The prospect for copper is good, of course driven by China. The use of copper is a question of infrastructure -- new lines, cables, transporting, power. Infrastructure projects in the emerging countries and especially in China -- the copper consumption will be high and also the increase will be high.”

On copper substitution:

“The danger for copper is not substitution that may occur in one or two or three years, but maybe in five or 10 years. Everybody is working on new systems with aluminum. When they come on stream, they may take several years and it is very difficult to go back to copper.

“The danger for copper is not only the copper price, but also high volatility for copper. High volatility of the copper price is more important for substitution than a high copper price that you can rely on.”

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