Trade: No Pretty Penny for Copper

Battered by cheap imports from Chile, Peru and Zaire, U.S. copper mining has been tarnished in the past few years. The twelve major producers now employ a mere 25,000 workers, down 50% in ten years, and the mines, primarily in the Rocky Mountain states, are running at 60% of capacity. Copper consumption is up 14% this year from last, but American mines simply cannot match competitors in the Third World. They have kept output high and prices down to around 60¢ per lb., vs. the 82¢ average cost of U.S. production. Despite those...

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