Copper has crossed my current events radar several times in the past couple months. I’m beginning to be intrigued, knowing copper’s value, both to science, to societal progress, and to the economy.
The biggest news story about copper is the rescue mission to release the trapped copper miners in Chile. The collapse happened on August 5th, and work continues to be done to free the Chilean workers. According to a Chilean congressman, the collapse could have been prevented. This leads me to the question, “If copper is of such high value, why are conditions of miners still unsafe?” Several lawsuits have been filed against the mining company. On a lighter note, the Plan B drill has reached the miners, but the tunnel needs to be widened for the rescue capsule to be able to fit into the tunnel.
A more local story (but I’m sure it’s been seen elsewhere as well) is about thieves stealing copper from odd places. In Delaware, the talk of the summer was all the copper that was being stolen from farmers’ irrigation. It took one farmer $16K to replace all the missing components. This went on for several weeks, and then suddenly stopped. The copper thieves struck next by causing something like 3,000 houses to lose power when they stole copper from an electric plant. They were caused and prosecuted. They kept me entertained all summer.
This all leads me to question, what is the true worth of copper? Yes, it’s currently around $3.52 per pound, but why risk lives and freedom for element #29? Yeah, it’s conductive. Yeah, it’s malleable. Yeah, it’s pretty. But is it worth it?