Almost every day for the past 144 years, traders engaged in shouting matches at the London Metal Exchange (LME) to set the global price of copper and other vital commodities. Now, just as the metals industry gears up for a global boom, one of its most iconic scenes may never return.

The trading floor known as “the Ring” fell silent last year as Covid-19 spread. At one of the last open-outcry trading venues in the world, the raised voices, shared telephones and physical jostling among floor dealers made for a social-distancing nightmare...

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