Popo is up to something: during most of our stay, the volcano calmly and steadily exhaled a faint white plume of gas. At night, this plume reflected an equally faint reddish glow within the crater – a reminder of the power that lies beneath our majestic mountain. But in the last few days, the number and intensity of small explosions has increased, and the colour of the plumes changed from steam-white to ash-grey.
The world needs copper – we all need copper. It carries the electricity and hot water in our homes through cables and pipes. It is part of all the electrical appliances we use at home and in industry – an essential ingredient in any low-carbon economy. The sources and security of supply of copper are important in economic terms and of great interest for government policy and business strategy.
Every person in the UK uses around 8kg of copper per year. Worldwide usage exceeds 24 million tonnes annually and, whilst around 41% of European copper needs are met by recycling, the demands of growing economies like China and India mean that 75% of this usage is met by mined metal. Copper can’t be grown and simply recycling what we have already extracted won’t keep pace with demands.