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Energy Transition

The Future Of Copper: Will The Looming Supply Gap Short-Circuit The Energy Transition?

Today, copper is essential to the energy transition as a "metal of electrification". However, a looming mismatch between current copper supply and future copper demand may present challenges to achieving Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

In our study, The Future of Copper: Will the looming supply gap short-circuit the energy transition?, we examine the key role copper will play in the energy transition and potential obstacles.

Download our free report to get a glimpse into the future of copper.

London Metal Exchange Copper Price

Copper, Aluminum Recycling Opportunities Emerge As Metals Demand Grows: BIR

Market opportunities are emerging for copper and aluminum product recycling, due to growing demand for copper and aluminum metal overall, according to speakers at the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) conference in Barcelona this week.

Of the 14 million mt of secondary copper generated annually on a global basis, only 9 million mt/year are currently recycled, Inka Guixa, of Spanish copper processor La Farga, told delegates during the non-ferrous metals panel at the event.

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Massive Copper Supply Required For Electrification Of Global Economy: Friedland

More than 700 million mt of copper will need to be mined in the next 22 years to maintain 3.5% GDP growth, without taking into account the electrification of the global economy, which is the same volume of copper ever mined, Ivanhoe Mines Founder & Co-Chair Robert Friedland told the Investing in African Mining Indaba 2022 on May 11.

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Copper—the "metal of electrification"—is essential to the energy transition. But could a looming mismatch between available copper supply and future copper demand present challenges to the achievement of Net Zero Emissions by 2050 goals?

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Market Dynamics

Base Metal Prices Plummet Amid Growing Recession, Demand Fears

Nickel and copper prices plummeted in 2022 amid economic gloom and mounting recessionary fears, despite supply tightness and low stockpiles.

Copper price dropped nearly 20% in recent months to $8,397.00 per tonne on June 23 from an April high of $10,451.75/t. Meanwhile, prices for nickel fell nearly 30% to $23,993.50/t on June 23 from $33,875.00/t on April 21.

Year-to-date copper price ($/tonne)

Copper, Nickel Markets In Deficit In Jan-April, Aluminum In Surplus: WBMS

The global nickel and copper markets remained in deficit over the January-April 2022 period, while aluminum, tin and zinc were all in surplus, the World Bureau of Metals Statistics said June 16.

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Copper In Initial Resources Hits 7-Year High

The number of copper initial resource announcements jumped to 18 in 2021, a seven-year high, from 13 in 2020, although the contained copper fell 2% to 9 million tonnes.

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Supply Chain

Copper TC/Rcs Face Further Pressure In Q3 From Tight Clean Concentrate Supply, Higher Demand

Asian demand for copper concentrates will likely be supported in the third quarter by healthy margins and an increase in smelter production capacity in China, while clean copper concentrate output is expected to lag consumption, placing downward pressure on the country's treatment and refining charges.

TC/RCs are fees paid to smelters by mines for converting copper concentrate to copper cathode, and falling TCs signal that copper concentrate supply is tight.

Spot Copper Concentrate TC on a Rollercoaster Road in Q2

Eight Investors Prequalify For Saudi Arabian Zinc, Copper Mine Site Auction

Six international investors and two domestic companies have prequalified to participate in an auction for exploration rights for Saudi Arabia's Khnaiguiyah zinc and copper deposit.

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Codelco Copper Workers Agree To Halt Stoppage In Chile

Workers at Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, have agreed to end a nationwide stoppage in Chile that has slowed operations, the state-owned mining firm and unions said in a joint statement June 23.

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First Quantum Greenlights Kansanshi Copper Expansion Project In Zambia

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals has approved a $1.25 billion project to expand the Kansanshi copper mine in Zambia, the company said May 8.

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Growing Appetite for Copper Threatens Energy Transition and Climate Goals

Demand for copper will double by 2035, opening up a supply gap that threatens climate goals and poses serious challenges the Net-Zero Emissions by 2050.

This demand growth during the energy transition — a pathway toward transformation of the global economy to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050 — will be particularly pronounced in the United States, China, and Europe. India will also exhibit strong copper demand growth, more from traditional copper applications than from the energy transition.

John Mothersole serves as director of research for the pricing and purchasing service at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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