With the societal desire and drive towards low carbon energy sources, there is a growing awareness of the important role that minerals and metals will play with renewable energy technologies. Copper is an essential metal for technologies that generate energy from renewable sources, in particular for wind and solar photovoltaic energy systems. A recent report (Arrobas et al., 2017) estimated that the median increase in copper demand through to 2050 for wind technologies and for solar photovoltaics would need to be 250% and 300% respectively to meet the goal of a 2°C global temperature increase scenario compared with a 6°C global increase, which is largely an extension of current trends (IEA, 2018). The aim of this extended abstract is to demonstrate with the necessary increase in copper production for renewable energy technologies that sound sustainability performance across the global copper value chain is to the benefit of government, society and industry.
Corder, G D and Bangerter, P J, 2018. Balancing the benefits and impacts of future copper demand – climate change and arsenic, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2018, pp 17–19 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).