Copper is the holdup for the EV transition


“It’s almost irrational, the expectation that we can electrify everything and have all the materials that we actually need for batteries and electric vehicles…by 2030, or 2035,” M. Stephen Enders, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines and a 48-year veteran of the mining industry, told Fortune. “We can’t supply the metals fast enough.”

Copper is an essential component in electric vehicles because of its conductive properties: a typical EV requires over 132 pounds of copper, as opposed to just 52 pounds for the average gas-powered car. As the auto industry continues to electrify, it’s driving an exponential increase in copper demand that the notoriously slow, long-term oriented mining industry simply isn’t capable of meeting. 

New research shows that in order to meet policymakers’ EV and green energy hopes, we will need to mine more than twice as much copper over the next 25 years as has been mined throughout all of human history up to 2018. 

“It is highly unlikely that there will be sufficient additional new mines to achieve 100% EV by 2035,” wrote Cornell University professor Lawrence Cathles and University of Michigan professor Adam Simon in a recent report. Reaching that target “requires unprecedented rates of mine production.”

Given that the average mine requires decades to build, it’s impossible to ramp up production overnight. And copper mining isn’t just time-consuming, it’s also expensive—meaning that it’s tough for new entrants or smaller-capitalized companies to rush into the market.

“Once you’ve got a discovery, the time you have to [wait until] first production is… 23 years,” Enders said. “It takes a long time for this to happen. The capital cost to build a project ranges…I’ve seen it as high as $7 or $8 billion.”

That means to hit long-term targets—or even come close to analysts’ expectations for near-term copper demand—mining companies have no time to lose. Cathles and Simon emphasized that governments have an important role to play in promoting domestic mining investment. Environmental regulations and land ownership laws in the United States make it one of the more expensive places to mine globally.

“It is important that copper exploration and mine development be encouraged, starting now. The EU and US should demonstrate on their own territories that increasingly responsible mining can be carried out and thereby prove that they consider mining to be important and are willing to do their share of it,” reads the report.

Automakers looking for a way out are buoyed by hopes of technological developments that could circumvent a need for copper. Researchers have proposed using solid-state batteries, which don’t require as much copper and other minerals in short supply, for electric vehicles instead of conventional lithium batteries—but large-scale production is still years away.

“Copper is the mineral most fundamental to the human future,” reads the report. “Mining must be recognized as essential.”

Subscribe to the CFO Daily newsletter to keep up with the trends, issues, and executives shaping corporate finance. Sign up for free.

Source link

Recommended Posts


Interactive Graphic Novel ‘Songs of Travel’ Is Out Now on iOS for No cost Next Its Debut on Android Before This Thirty day period – TouchArcade

Causa Creations was initially going to start its interactive graphic novel Music of Travel (Cost-free) on iOS and Android concurrently on Could 9th. Songs of Vacation strike Android, but the iOS variation had been delayed. Currently, Tunes of Journey has at last absent stay all over the world on iOS for totally free. If you […]


A toddler was trapped in a Tesla soon after its battery died devoid of warning amid document heat waves—’safety comes last’ at Tesla, skilled suggests

A 20-month year outdated woman in Arizona was a short while ago locked within a Tesla Product Y after the car’s battery died, producing a “life threatening situation” in which firefighters had to split open up the door with an ax to rescue her.  Renee Sanchez, the girl’s grandmother, loaded the girl into her vehicle […]


Does Medicare cover breast reduction medical procedures?

Breast reduction operation, also identified as reduction mammaplasty, requires the elimination of pores and skin and tissue from the breasts, then reshaping them to a more compact size. This variety of medical procedures has been on the increase since the pandemic. Cosmetic breast reduction surgeries—those that had been not regarded medically essential and compensated for […]