Copper boom: how clean energy is driving a commodities supercycle – by Neil Hume and Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – June 8, 2021)

Kamoa-Kakula in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a rare commodity in the modern resources industry: a high-grade copper mine that one day could produce enough metal to satisfy more than 5 per cent of China’s annual demand.

Surrounded by small villages, the mine employs around 7,000 workers and has its own road for trucks to carry rock to a nearby smelter. The company is also upgrading a 40-year-old hydropower station on the Congo River to provide electricity to run the mine.

The first phase of the $2bn project began operating in May, more than four years after the last big copper mine of similar scale, MMG’s Las Bambas, in Peru, came online.

Despite these examples, years of belt tightening mean the pipeline of new copper projects is running dangerously thin just as demand for the metal — used in everything from wind turbines to electric vehicles — is set to soar.

Governments around the world are launching huge stimulus programmes focused on job creation and environmental stability.

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