Thursday, December 04, 2008

Drop in copper price could save nation's infrastructure

An FBI criminal intelligence report from September on major copper thefts has been circulating online the past few days.

The FBI summary says, "Copper thieves are threatening US critical infrastructure by targeting electrical sub-stations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, water wells, construction sites, and vacant homes for lucrative profits. The theft of copper from these targets disrupts the flow of electricity, telecommunications, transportation, water supply, heating, and security and emergency services and presents a risk to both public safety and national security."

At the time the report was prepared and released, the price of copper was averaging $3.60 a pound and spiking into the $4+ range. But today, copper is running below $1.50. That's enough of a drop for major mines to shut down, so I bet it's enough to discourage would-be thieves and turn their attention to more lucrative targets.

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