By Mark Rachovides
The price of copper may jump by more than 75% over the next two years, according to analysts, on the back of supply disruptions and higher demand for the metal due to the green energy transition.
Because of its superior capacity to provide electrical conductivity without causing overheating even at high levels, the red metal is a key element of the energy transition ecosystem as it is integral to manufacturing electric vehicles, energy storage systems, solar panels, and wind turbines.
However, at this time of soaring demand because of the energy transition, some of the world’s largest copper mines have reduced production due to environmental and other operational concerns or have announced plans to reduce copper output due to cost concerns.
As such, demand for copper is expected to exceed primary supply within the next four years, with Goldman Sachs predicting a copper deficit of over half a million tons in 2024.
According to BloombergNEF, this mismatch in supply and demand is likely to cause copper prices to rise 20% by 2027.
Analysts also cite the outcome of the recent COP28 climate change conference – where more than 60 countries backed a plan to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 – as a key reason for soaring demand over the next decade.
In a report published in December, Citibank forecast that the higher renewable energy targets would boost copper demand by an extra 4.2 million tons by 2030. This could push copper prices to $15,000 a ton in 2025, the report added.
Cyprus has huge opportunity
Boasting significant copper resources, Cyprus could benefit from the global surge in demand for copper, by facilitating new projects in the raw materials sector.
Mining technology has also made significant advances, allowing for low-impact exploration and extraction.
Using modern mining and mineral processing methods that minimise environmental impact, mining companies like Venus Minerals, could recover important metals from mining waste and tailings accumulated across the island and make historic sites available for safe alternative uses.
Cyprus has a huge opportunity to benefit from the global surge in copper prices.
By unlocking vital reserves of a critical raw material within the European Union, it can both diversify and add value to the economy, while at the same time rehabilitating areas that were impacted by past activity.
It can therefore set an example by successfully achieving the highest standards of the European Green Deal, through the use of modern and efficient methods.
Mark Rachovides is Chairman of Venus Minerals and President Emeritus of Euromines, representing the European metals and minerals mining industry