Pennies Under Threat As Copper Price Surges
By Shihoko Goto — Exclusive to Copper Investing News
A penny simply is not worth what it used to be. With the rise of the value of copper over the past few years, one US cent is costing the government more to produce than it is actually worth, and the White House is looking for ways to lower costs.
Of course, pennies are not solid copper. Instead, they have been merely copper-plated since 1982, with zinc making up 97.5 percent of the coin's mass. In fact, despite its silver sheen, the five-cent nickel has a higher copper content than the penny; three quarters of the coin is made up of copper, while the remaining quarter consists of nickel.Metal prices impact penny cost As a result, it cost 2.4 cents to make a penny in 2011, and 11.2 cents to make a nickel. “This contributes to volatile and negative margins on both the penny and nickel,” the White House stated. Through its proposed 2013 budget, under the section entitled “Increased Flexibility for the US Mint in Coinage,” the Obama administration has asked Congress to allow the metal content in the coins to change, even though the US Mint has not yet identified what a more cost-effective mixture would be.
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