Copper is the new gold - Wikimedia Commons

Incidents of theft of copper cable in the UK are on the rise as the world prepares itself for a  shortage of the very useful metal.

The expansion of infrastructure in developing companies like China, India, Brazil and Russia means that, all in all, it's just another BRIc in the wall.

Copper (periodic ticker number 29) is a ductile metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity. According to a study by Yale University two years ago, all of the copper in ore and all the copper currently in use are likely to be exhausted to bring the developing nations to a level the advanced nations currently enjoy.

That means that the extremely useful Cu may turn out to be more valuable than the not-so-useful Gold (Au).

Even though, according to Bloomberg today, copper futures have fallen because gains are seen to be overdone, a metric ton of copper is $7,000 on hte London Metal Exchange.

China is believed to be hoarding vast amounts of copper. Although there's stacks of it on the planet, mining it is not particularly easy and some pundits have suggested that reserves could run out in as little as 20 years or so.

It can be recycled. So make sure your copper wires are protected from those copper thieves.