GVR Report cover U.S. Copper Scrap Market Size, Share & Trends Report

U.S. Copper Scrap Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Application (Wire Rod Mills, Bar Mills, Ingot Makers, Foundries & Other Industries), By Region (Northeast, Midwest, West, South), And Segment Forecasts, 2022 - 2030

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68039-920-1
  • Number of Pages: 50
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Report Overview

The U.S. copper scrap market size was valued at USD 620.2 million in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2% from 2022 to 2030. The market is expected to be driven by the rising electrification of vehicles, amidst global pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles require 3 to 4 times more copper compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Copper has vital importance in the production of electric vehicles (EVs) and related infrastructure. The focus on lowering carbon emissions through alternative energy sources has gained top priority in the U.S. and other countries around the world. EVs have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus aid in the goal of achieving a carbon-neutral economy.

U.S. copper scrap market size, by application, 2020 - 2030 (USD Million)

Copper exhibits the highest conductivity after silver. With the advent of battery-powered and hybrid electric vehicles, the amount of copper wiring in the components of automobiles has increased at a greater pace. There are various types of EVs, which require more copper content than ICE vehicles. Copper is used in batteries, windings, busbars, wiring, electric motors, and charging infrastructure.

In 2020, the temporary suspension of industrial activities impacted both primary and secondary (scrap) copper. This affected the copper supply, ultimately resulting in the shortage of copper scrap and a hike in copper prices, reaching the all-time high levels of USD 10,000 per ton in 2021. In the U.S., copper production declined by nearly 5% in 2020 amidst the pandemic.

In 2021, nearly 160 kilotons of the overall copper scrap were acquired from old resources i.e. post-consumer scrap, while 710 kilotons of copper scrap were recovered from industrial fabrication operations in the U.S. Copper scrap accounted for a share of 32% of the total copper supply in 2021 in the U.S. The key driving factors for the U.S. copper scrap include the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), solar panels, and 5G technology.

The U.S. copper scrap market has the presence of several companies with a strong presence in North America and other parts of the world. The competition is expected to rise over the coming years, as the companies are focusing on various inorganic growth strategies such as joint ventures and mergers & acquisitions. For instance, in February 2021, Prime Materials Recovery, Inc. formed a joint venture with Spanish Cunext Group to form a recycling facility to produce copper anodes from copper scrap and fines.

Application Insights

The wire rod mills segment accounted for a revenue share of 26.8% in 2021 and is likely to grow at a lucrative pace in the coming years. The wire rod mills use copper scrap for mainly producing wires, which are further used in electrical applications. With the help of cold drawing and a series of dies, wires are produced at these mills. The individual wires then are insulated or stranded depending on their intended end-use application such as cable assemblies.

Investments in new copper mills are projected to benefit the market. For instance, in May 2020, Southwire Company, LLC installed a copper wire rod mill at its Carrollton plant in the U.S. The company has acquired the SCR-9000S copper rod mill from Primetals technologies. This mill is capable of producing electrolytic tough pitch copper rods for electrical cables and wire applications, with an annual capacity of 353 kilotons.

Brass mills melt and produce alloy materials to further manufacture sheets, tubes, strips, rods, bars, forgings, extrusions, and mechanical wires. Nearly half of the copper input in these mills is obtained from copper scrap. Fabrication processes such as extrusion, cold rolling, hot rolling, and drawing are employed to convert melted and cast feedstock into the final mill products.

Copper or brass radiators are a major source of copper scrap for ingot producers, captive foundries, and brass mills. These materials also have significant amounts of copper, tin, lead, and zinc, which help in producing red-brass or semi-red brass alloy ingots. Nearly 50% of these alloy ingots are used in plumbing and fittings in the U.S. As per the Copper Development Association Inc., nearly 50,000 tons of radiators are recycled each year to produce red-brass alloy ingots.

Regional Insights

The south U.S. accounted for over 38.7% share in 2021, in terms of volume. Rising investments in application industries such as wires and cables are projected to support the demand for copper scrap in the coming years. For instance, in July 2020, Accel International Holdings announced an investment of USD 55 million at its new plant in Port St. Lucia. This plant can produce wires, cables, and conductors for aerospace, medical and industrial applications.

U.S. copper scrap market share, by region, 2021 (%)

The construction of new copper recycling facilities is projected to benefit the demand for copper scrap in the West region. In November 2021, Germany-based Aurubis announced an investment of USD 340 million in Georgia, the U.S. by the first of half 2024. The company is likely to produce e-waste, recycled cable, and other metal-bearing material. The facility is projected to have a recycling capacity of 90,000 tons per year.

Copper scrap recovery was robust in 2021 after supply chain disruptions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic 2020. Recovering manufacturing activities after the pandemic have led to rising usage of copper scrap. In the long run, both scrap production and recycling are likely to observe moderate growth as governments are aiming to meet their green targets.

Several market players in different regions of the U.S. with copper scrap management capabilities rely on the collection of scraps of other ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as steel, stainless steel, aluminum, nickel, tin, and titanium. For copper scrap, the players focus on products such as copper wire scrap, insulated cope sheet copper scrap, copper cathode scrap, copper solid scrap, and brass scrap, among others.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

Players in the U.S. copper scrap industry are also focused on expanding their businesses via inorganic growth strategies such as mergers & acquisitions and joint ventures. For instance, in September 2021, Elemental Holding Group announced the acquisition of Legend Smelting and Recycling (LSR) with facilities in California, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana. LSR specializes in the recycling of non-ferrous metals and catalytic converters. Elemental Group has acquired 3 companies since 2019, which are Maryland Core, PGM of Texas, and LSR.

Most of the players function as brokers or facilitators of copper scrap, which involves negotiation, arrangement of shipping, and other services. These vendors act as communicators for both buyer and supplier. Companies also concentrate on expanding their clientele network in the U.S. as well as globally, to smoothen the outflow of copper scrap. Some of the prominent players in the U.S. copper scrap market include:

  • Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.

  • Commercial Metals Company (CMC)

  • Alter Trading Inc.

  • EMR USA Holdings Inc.

  • Ferrous Processing and Trading (FPT)

  • Kimmel Scrap Iron & Metal Co

  • OmniSource, LLC

  • SCRAP PROCESSORS, INC.

  • Sims Limited

  • The David J. Joseph Company

U.S. Copper Scrap Market Report Scope

Report Attribute

Details

Market size value in 2022

USD 638.4 million

Revenue forecast in 2030

USD 900.6 million

Growth Rate

CAGR of 4.2% from 2022 to 2030

Base year for estimation

2021

Historical data

2017 - 2020

Forecast period

2022 - 2030

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million, volume in kilotons, and CAGR from 2017 to 2030

Report coverage

Revenue & volume forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Application, region

Regional scope

Northeast; Midwest; West; South

Key companies profiled

Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.; Commercial Metals Company (CMC); Alter Trading Inc.; EMR USA Holdings Inc.; Ferrous Processing and Trading (FPT); Kimmel Scrap Iron & Metal Co; OmniSource, LLC; SCRAP PROCESSORS, INC.; Sims Limited; The David J. Joseph Company

Customization Scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analyst’s working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options

Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at the country and regional levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2030. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the U.S. copper scrap market report based on application and region

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; Volume, Kilotons, 2017 - 2030)

    • Wire Rod Mills

    • Brass Mills

    • Ingot Makers

    • Foundries and Other Industries

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; Volume, Kilotons, 2017 - 2030)

    • Northeast

    • Midwest

    • West

    • South

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