Copper metal is often recognized as the center of technological advancements in a broad range of applications. It is used in the production of brass, copper sheet products, and copper tubes. It is also used in more than 450 alloys. Copper cathode is a form of copper that exhibits purity of more than 95%. It is the primary raw material utilized in the production of copper rod, which is employed in several industries. Pure copper exhibits excellent electrical conductivity.
The copper cathode market can be segmented based on refining process type, application, and region. Copper cathode is produced through the refining process, which helps in the removal of impurities from copper ore. Based on refining process type, the copper cathode market can be segmented into smelting and electro-refining. Smelting is a type of refining process for extracting pure form of copper from its ore. It uses heat and chemical reducing agent for decomposition of copper ore, elimination of unwanted slag, and other elements for obtaining pure copper cathode. Electro-refining is a process, wherein copper ore is carried out in the presence of using aqueous solution for extracting pure form of copper cathode. Electro-refining is a process that produces majority of copper cathode. Copper cathode is used in oil & gas, chemical labs, and various other industries. It is used in power generation, telecommunications, electronic circuits, power transmission, and various types of electrical equipment. Through electro-refining process, copper cathode is used in obtaining remaining impurities present in the copper ore. Impurities in copper ore consist of traces of gold, silver, nickel, and others.
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Copper cathode offers several benefits. For instance, it acts as a good conductor of electricity. It possesses good resistance characteristics. Refined copper cathode can be used for goods that do not require a high degree of conductivity and are easy to install. New innovations and advancements are emerging for the development and cost reduction of electro-refining copper cathode. Valuable impurities from copper ore such as gold, silver, and nickel could be retrieved successfully through the smelting and electro-refining processes of copper cathode.
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Restraints of copper cathode market are its poor resistance to abrasion and common acids and low tensile strength. Electro-refining process used for the development of copper cathode is capital intensive. It has shorter life expectancy, as it is susceptible to oxidation. Copper cathode possesses properties of high ductility than other alternative metals with the exception of silver and gold.
In terms of geography, countries in Asia Pacific such as China, India, Japan, and Australia dominate the copper cathode market due to rapid urbanization and industrialization. Demand for copper cathode is expected to rise in North America, as the U.S. Government plans to rebuild and develop its existing infrastructure. Demand for copper cathode in countries in Europe such as the U.K., Germany, and France is increasing rapidly due to the growth in developing efficient and economical smart cities and industrial sectors. Demand for copper cathode is anticipated to increase in countries such as Mexico and Argentina in Latin America due to the fast and constant industrialization. The copper cathode market in Africa is projected to expand in the near future owing to the increase in industrialization.
Key players operating in the copper cathode market are Kennecott Utah Copper, Jiangxi Copper Corporation, Daye Non-Ferrous Metals Co., Birla Group Hindalco, and Sumitomo Metals Mining.