Copper Prices Rebounded Over $0.50/lb – 10/20/21



Welcome to the Copper Countdown! 🎉

As many of you have seen online, we have reached near-record pricing levels again. We saw these markets similar to where they were back in May and June 2021, but they have returned the form. You might be asking why. Because multiple countries are saying that they will be cutting down on their carbon emissions this year by shutting down some of their metal manufacturing facilities. 

This caused a ripple effect on the recycling market, making scrap that’s out there even more valuable. We could start to see consumer build-ups in different areas of the country getting more material than others or different regions of the world. 

Quick Numbers

  • 42,000 tonnes – On October 13, Tesla inked a multi-year nickel supply deal with New Caledonia’s Prony Resources, which will give the EV maker roughly 42,000 tonnes of the metal, making it the miner’s largest customer.
  • 180,000 tonnes – South32 acquired a 45% stake in Sierra Gorda, a low-grade open-pit copper mine in Chile’s Antofagasta region. The mine is expected to produce 180,000 tonnes of copper, 5,000 tonnes of molybdenum, 54,000 oz. gold and 1.6 million oz. silver (214,000 tonnes copper-equivalent) in calendar 2021.

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Retro Coke items are always a sight for sore eyes. Old and new(er) side by side.



Featured Question

Question: Is there a reason why scrap yards do not take diesel truck catalytic converters?

Tom: “Most diesel units have no precious metals in them, but you should reach out to to confirm.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

With copper prices leading the charge, we have seen the markets rebound over $0.50 in the last week and a half. Anytime you see a significant upswing, you have to know that different problems will arise with it. One of the problems is scrapyards locking in higher prices with many of their traditional brokers. Why do you ask? Because when the spreads become this high, the risk also increases dramatically. This causes scrapyards sometimes to have problems finding buyers for their material due to the high prices and potential issues getting material delivered into the different mills. 

If you can’t deliver material in a timely fashion, as many large traders and scrapyards are seeing firsthand right now, that creates a big problem because they will become more of a bottleneck to an already tightly wound market. This is holding true not only for the copper prices but also for the aluminum market, as we’ve seen a massive resurgence in aluminum pricing this year as well.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (10/13 – 10/19):




Merrillville, IN 500/750 Insulated Cable $3.32/ lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $4.10/ lb
Cropwell, AL #1 Copper Tubing  $3.25/ lb
Raleigh, NC Aluminum Cans $0.50/ lb
Peoria, IL Starters $0.10/ lb
Stony Point, NY Dirty Brass $2.10/ lb
Bainbridge, GA #2 Copper Tubing $3.55/ lb
Rockville, MD Romex® Wire $2.05/ lb
Sioux Falls, SD Yellow Brass $2.15/ lb
South Gate, CA Refined Rebrass & Copper $3.85/ lb
Coatesville, PA Stainless Steel $0.50/ lb
Edmonton, Alberta* Light Copper $3.59/ lb

Ferrous Market News

Steel Ain’t Slowing Down ⏩

Steel prices have gone up about $10-$15 per ton, along with the educated predictions we had over the last 2-3 weeks. We expect to see this market not slowing down but possibly already having bottomed out. That would be good news as the markets have increased, and with oil prices going up, we do not plan on seeing the steel markets on a decline for the rest of this year.

With oil prices increasing and general bottlenecks continuing, we are happy to see any positive movement for these markets. The market prices could be going the other way due to bottlenecks at the different ports and other export and domestic furnaces being overwhelmed with materials.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (10/13 – 10/19):




North Adams, MA #1 HMS $0.11/ lb
Portland, ME Light Iron $100/ ton
Peoria, IL Rotors $190/ ton
Bellefontaine, OH #1 Prepared $220/ ton
Jarrell, TX Shreddable Steel $200/ ton
Albany, NY Tin $163/ ton
Harrisburg, PA Die-Cast $0.10/ lb
Amarillo, TX Unprepared P&S $110/ ton
Kincheloe, MI Tin $165/ ton
San Jose, CA Light Iron $190/ ton
North Bay, Ontario* #1 Heavy Melting Steel $285/ ton

Catalytic Converter Market News



Slight Pull Back ⏪

Well, we saw a slight decrease in the three precious metals over the last few days, but we’re thrilled with the bounce-back that we saw from early September. The prices have gone up, and we hope to see these levels sustained throughout the rest of 2021. One of the most significant issues continues to be the supply chains for the auto manufacturers, as thousands of cars are waiting to be sold. Still, they have nowhere to go except sitting and collecting dust without those precious semiconductors in them. 

Semiconductors also have precious metals inside of them; the problem is not getting the precious metals right now, but getting the labor and the technical skill to get the semiconductors built not only for the car industry but also for all technology across the world right now.


Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (10/13 – 10/19):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign Honda O2 Straight $371/ @
Foreign Medium $266/ @
LG Flow $217/ @
Foil $55/ @
After Market $20/ @
Torpedo – High $392/ @


In summary, we see these markets continuing to remain strong and possibly having already bottomed out. With the demand on the world to push for clean energy, we should continue to see copper prices remain very high and other metals such as aluminum and iron continuing their upward trends. Thanks for tuning in, scrappers, and talk next week! 

– Tom


News We’re Following 

*Canadian Dollar

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