Copper is critical to energy transition. The world is falling way behind on producing enough – by Bob Woods ( – September 2023)

Doctor Copper, the nickname for the ubiquitous red metal that historically has taken the pulse of the global economy, is currently busy diagnosing the health of the clean energy transition. Naturally conductive copper is one of the critical minerals — along with lithium, cobalt and nickel — in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, EV batteries, solar panels, wind turbines and the power grids that connect renewable sources to homes and businesses.

Yet the prognosis for the industry to supply enough copper to meet that rapidly growing demand is not particularly rosy.

Recent reports from S&P Global, Wood Mackenzie, the International Energy Agency and other researchers conclude that while demand for copper could nearly double by 2035, mining companies are having a hard time keeping up.

That shortfall threatens to not only hamper growth in clean energy but also short-circuit the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the benchmark in staving off climate change calamity. Solutions to the problem include improving existing mining operations, developing novel extraction technologies, and stepping up recycling efforts.

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