Copper Shortage

April 30, 1947

Report Outline
Mounting Concern Over Shortage of Copper
Place of Copper in National Economy
Concentration of Control in Copper
Special Focus

Mounting Concern Over Shortage of Copper

The Heavy Drain upon American reserves of virgin copper which resulted from demands of the munitions industries during the war has been extended into the postwar period by booming industrial production. Copper ranks second only to iron as an industrial raw material. An acute shortage of the metal is now in prospect for mid-1947; it threatens to slow the output of certain manufactured articles now in wide demand, to curb expansion of electrical utilities to meet the growing need for power, and to force many small, independent fabricators of copper and brass products to curtail their operations.

A report to Congress by the Federal Trade Commission, Mar. 11, 1947, said: “The copper situation is particularly serious, not only because of the concentration of control of the ore reserves, but also because the domestic supply is inadequate to meet the demands of high-level national production and employment.”

Depletion of Domestic Stocks and Reserves

Consumption of copper during the first quarter of 1947 outstripped current supply by at least 150,000 tons. The full year's industrial requirements for new copper are estimated at 1,400,000 tons. Domestic copper production in 1947 is expected to range between 840,000 tons and 950,000 tons.

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Mineral Industries