Metals are at the heart if the new commodity super cycle. The physical properties of transition metals (copper, aluminium, lithium, cobalt) make them critical to transforming the basis of our energy system away from hydrocarbons toward sustainable sources – electromagnetic (solar), kinetic (wind) and geothermal.
The world’s entire path to net zero emissions will be through electrification and renewable energy. As the most cost-effective conductive material, copper sits at the heart of capturing, storing and transporting these new sources of energy. By 2030, according to Goldman Sachs, copper demand from the transition will grow nearly 600% to 5.4Mt in our base case and 900% to 8.7Mt in the case of hyper adoption of green technologies.
That’s why, for the near term, Revolver Resources is targeting copper plays in proven Australian jurisdictions such as North Queensland including the North-West Minerals Province.
We strongly believe the green transition will support a surge in copper demand, perhaps the strongest phase of volume growth in history. A combination of surging demand and sticky supply has reinforced current deficit conditions and foreshadows large open-ended deficits from mid-decade. A substantial pivot to growth investment is needed now in terms of Greenfield copper mine projects to materially lower the long-term supply gap.
Copper demand from turbines is set to triple from 400,000 tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes by 2030, a growth rate of 12.4% annually.
Wind turbines demand copper primarily for generators, power cable conductors and earthing cables. These cables are on average 15cm thick and weigh around 60 to 80kg per metre. The main use of copper in offshore windfarms is for the ultra-high voltage cables used to transport the power back onshore, leading them to be the largest source of copper demand in wind power.
By 2040, there will be more than 250 million electric cars on our roads. Every car has 80kg of copper, 190kg of aluminium and serious amounts of cobalt, lithium, graphite, nickel and rare earth metals.
Copper is found inside EV batteries, motor coils, inverts and wiring of which around 1km of wire is required. In addition, copper is a crucial component for EV infrastructure, required for the cabling of charging stations.
Copper use in solar panels is expected to rise from 400kt in 2021 to 1.6Mt by 2030. Each solar panel contains around 2.4kt of copper per GW of capacity.
Copper is an essential element in solar PV technologies owing to its high conductivity and lower cost. Plus it’s durability is crucial for a technology that has an average life cycle of 25 to 30 years.
SOURCE: Green Metals: Copper is the new oil. Goldman Sachs Commodies Research. April 2021