Monday, April 29, 2013

The Price of Copper

About three years ago, I blogged about how thieves ripped apart out Raleigh house's HVAC to get to a few dollars worth of copper.  There have been thousands of stories over the years about stealing copper from street lights, construction sites, cooling systems, and anywhere else it can be found.  Bad news.  The price of copper is going to go up.

If you have visited Salt Lake City, you may have seen the Kennecott copper mine.  It has the distinction of being the largest man made hole in the world and it is visible from space.  It supplies a large percentage of the world's copper supply. About two weeks ago, the mine had a bit of a catastrophe.
We have all heard stories about landslides.  Some are small but impact humans, like the recent one on Whidbey Island in Washington.  Others are much bigger.  Some are much, much, much bigger.  The Kennecott slide dumped 165 million tons of dirt into the bottom of the mine.  For those challenged by math, that's 330 billion pounds.  Billion with a "B".

The good news is that they could tell it was going to happen.  With a few days of warning they were able to get the people and most of the equipment out of the way.  The bad news is that to get back to full production, they simply need to move all that debris.  Until that happens, the amount of copper flowing from the mine will be way off.

For the local community, some number of people will lose their jobs.  A huge side effect is that the land valuation of the mine will plunge, at least temporarily, which will raise a lot of people's property tax bills.  That money has to come from somewhere.

Thieves take note.  The price of copper is going up!
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