Copper, a vital metal for electrification, is of key importance to an all-electric future. Solar and wind power, electric vehicles, and the infrastructure to transport renewable energy all rely on the red metal. Countries across the globe have set goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, which is expected to skyrocket demand for copper.

A recent report from S&P Global highlights the gap between the global copper supply and the increase in demand projected to begin within years. As governments, including the United States, transition to clean energy, they will be turning to technologies that all require significantly more copper than their conventional fossil-based counterparts. The report anticipates copper demand will nearly double over the next decade to 50 million metric tons by 2035 and reach more than 53 million metric tons by 2050. To put this figure into perspective, S&P Global notes that the amount of copper needed between 2022 and 2050 is more than all the copper consumed in the world between 1900 and 2021.

Mining companies with projects across the globe are eager to ramp up production ahead of the anticipated demand. Right now, China is positioning itself to be a primary supplier of copper. However, relying solely on foreign, and potentially unstable, countries’ production of the materials that we depend on for our modern ways of life can threaten security and supply chains. Earlier this year, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to increase American production of the metals that support national defense, electric vehicles, and storage of renewable energy, signaling the White House is treating climate change and clean energy as central to national security.

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