Our Chairman and CEO

Oriol Guixà, La Farga, Chair of ECI’s Board of Directors

The future for copper is bright. 2018 was positive for the worldwide copper market. Early indications from consultancy suggest a 2.8 percent growth in the apparent usage of refined copper, reaching 28.9 million tonnes at the end of the period. Preliminary data for Europe and the FSU suggests demand grew by 1.4 percent over 2017 to reach 4.7 million tonnes. The EU28 share of this demand is likely to be stable at 3.8 million tonnes.

Beyond working in a competitive and globalising market, European copper producers and fabricators are also navigating a continuously growing regulatory environment, presenting both challenges and opportunities, including innovation. This underlines the importance of having an active and agile ECI team, ready to secure our licence to operate and fair market access, and to make the most of legislative opportunities to grow our copper market.

Bernard Respaut, Chief Executive, European Copper Institute.

2018 saw a busy legislative agenda. The Clean Energy Package—outlining the EU’s energy transition ambitions—confirms copper is the metal of choice to equip wind turbines, solar panels and heat pumps, manufacture emission-free, high-efficiency electric vehicles, store energy and interconnect power grids across the continent. The implementation of this package throughout member states represents a major opportunity for our sector. Indeed, some scenarios indicate that to realise the 2050 ambition of a carbon-neutral economy in Europe, more than 15 million tonnes of additional copper will be cumulatively needed over the period 2018 to 2050. So, we aim to ensure the implementation of the Clean Energy Package occurs with sustained tempo and copper gets its fair share of this opportunity.

The circular economy has also remained on the EU agenda. The copper industry is circular by nature due to copper’s endless recyclability, without loss of properties, which lends it an infinite lifetime. At the same time, to remain competitive in Europe, it has long been essential for industry to optimise energy and material use. We are well positioned: efforts on the part of European industry mean around 50 percent of our copper needs are already met with recycled material. Now, to further advance, a supportive legislative environment that facilitates recycling and reuse is essential.

In June 2018, the European Commission decided to put lead on the list of candidate substances for authorisation, since this metal is categorised by European authorities as a Substance of Very High Concern due to its reprotoxic character. Should the Commission decide to add lead to the authorisation list (“Annex XIV” of REACH) by 2024 or later, the use of lead will no longer be allowed in Europe, unless a company or a group of companies obtains authorisation to use lead or a mixture containing it (i.e. an alloy) for a specific use. This will have major consequences for the copper alloy value chain, including the recycling market. As such, it risks undoing much of what the circular economy seeks to achieve, and ECI is actively engaged on the file to ensure an outcome that is proportionate and workable.

Oriol Guixà, La Farga, Chair of ECI’s Board of Directors

Looking ahead to 2019, our goal is to have an organisation that is fit for the future, with close collaboration and coordination between staff and members, and between ECI and the broader Copper Alliance. We have established new internal committees on Public Affairs, Energy and Climate, and Building Components to bring members closer to our work in a structured fashion. ECI’s three-year plan also helps us track where we are, and where we want to go.

We have strengthened our relations with the International Copper Association. We also continue to solidify associations with partners such as Eurometaux, the International Wrought Copper Council and the International Lead Association.

Bernard Respaut, Chief Executive, European Copper Institute.

In 2019, we seek to fortify the value we deliver our members, by preparing a strong agenda of political calls the European copper industry wants to issue towards the new European Commission and Parliament, which will be installed after the May 2019 elections. These political calls will be supported by solid data and complemented by active campaigns that demonstrate to key stakeholders the positive contribution copper brings our economy and society.

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