Global Copper Flow Model: Development of a global copper flow model

Copper is one of the base raw materials upon which our contemporary developed economies depend. Statistical data for copper and publications are available concerning regional material flow analysis or LCA data. Nevertheless, there is no comprehensive overview of copper flows worldwide. Such an overview is necessary to determine in which material flows copper is present, where the streams are going and where copper might accumulate.

This project will create a simple and flexible model filled with the main global material flows for one base year. At the end of the project, it should be possible to estimate the work needed to expand the model in terms of detail, regionalization (North America, Asia, Europe and the rest of the world) and time frame. There are currently five major parts to the draft model:

  1. Mining

  2. Production

  3. Use

  4. Waste management

  5. Environment

The model will be built in close co-operation with the International Copper Association (ICA). The resulting model will provide an overview of copper flows for each end-use, with the corresponding flows of secondary raw material. Based on these flows, a variety of recycling indicators can be calculated. An evaluation of which of the many possible combinations/recycling rates are most useful for assessing copper recycling activities will be given, taking into consideration (a) their conceptual appeal and (b) the robustness of the underlying data.




  • International Copper Association, Ltd. (ICA)