Copper and our sustainable future

Dr Maurizio Bragagni OBE
2 min readJan 11, 2022

The transition to sustainability and net zero carbon emissions will require the global economies to accelerate the use of clean energy technologies. A low-carbon future will be very mineral intensive because clean energy technologies need more materials than fossil-fuel-based electricity generation technologies. Greater ambition on climate change goals, as outlined by the Paris Agreement, requires installing more of these technologies and will therefore lead to a larger material footprint. Copper’s properties are vital for a range of activities including safe energy transmission and efficient transport. From mines and smelters/refiners through to manufacturing, the copper industry needs to further upgrade its capacities to be able to provide the raw material and the finished products to assist society through any challenge. As copper is required in any of clean technologies of the future, it will be in high demand. The copper price is ultimately the tool for generating the fundamental adjustments in the global copper market. At current conditions, copper supply chain is not ready to meet the high demand. If copper price will remain below $9,000 per metric ton, there is a risk that the global copper market would face inventory depletion risk by 2023. According to the Goldman Sachs projection, copper price would need to increase to average $9,675/t in 2021, $11,875/t in 2022, $12,000/t in 2023 before a material step up to $14,000/t in 2024 and $15,000/t in 2025, to allow the metal balances into mid-decade to remain manageable without depletion occurring. Whether prices need to rise further post-2025, will then depend on whether the price rally has supported enough mine supply response by that stage.
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Dr Maurizio Bragagni OBE

Author, Speaker, Hon. Consul @consolatorsmuk San Marino in U.K. NED @esharelife @IECstandards MSB member @BayesBSchool Hon. Sen. Vis. Fellow