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2022-07-23 11:14:34 By : Mr. Robbie Qiu

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

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 Joe 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.

Beyond national security, domestic metal production also guarantees some of the world’s most highly regulated environmental and social protections. The strict, modern U.S. permitting process, worker safety laws, and corporate oversight were established as a result of historically unsafe and negligent practices in the mining industry. These regulations require companies and governing bodies to complete extensive studies ahead of production to prove the project will successfully protect natural resources and the environment. The process also requires the posting of cash reclamation bonds prior to the commencement of commercial mining activities. That money, equal to the amount of money it would take to reclaim disturbance, is placed in escrow and is only redeemable upon successful completion of reclamation activities.

Mining is an essential part of our future. The domestic production of essential metals is critical to U.S. supply and will provide the building blocks for the clean-energy transition while meeting the highest standards of environmental protection, social responsibility, and corporate governance.

Ryan McDermott is CEO Konnex Resources and Phoenix Copper. McDermott is a native Idahoan based in Boise with over 25 years of experience in base and precious metals exploration and mining. McDermott graduated from Idaho State University with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Geology and is committed to using his extensive background in the industry to build responsible mining operations in Idaho. Prior to joining the Phoenix Copper team, Ryan led the teams responsible for exploration, permitting, and mining projects around the world.

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