Colorado School of Mines warns of ‘grey tsunami’ of mining industry retirements – by Amanda Stutt (Canadian Mining Journal – August 30, 2023)

While mining is crucial to any nation’s national security and to the production of energy infrastructure and electric vehicles, actual production of the critical minerals needed globally is not keeping pace.

Its estimated the world will need to produce over the next 20-25 years the amount of copper that has been produced throughout all human history, Walter Copan, VP, Research and Technology Transfer at Colorado School of Mines, testified in June before the House Committee on Natural Resources. The impending copper deficit has been common knowledge in the industry for years, but it was only this month that the United States Department of Energy actually added copper to its critical minerals list.

“As the nation and our world look to our shared energy for electric power, energy storage and the environment, we are realizing the need for mining and its products at an unprecedented scale,” Copan said, adding that while the world will need to mine vast amounts of copper, lithium, graphite and cobalt, “America’s shortfall is staggering.”

‘Grey tsunami’

Meanwhile, the mining industry is facing a critical skills gap, compounded with the so-called ‘grey tsunami’ impending with regard to the amount of retirements anticipated.

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