We're eagerly awaiting what summer has in store! Check out this week's nugget for the latest mining news, insights, and announcements.
In Copper We Trust
Get our thoughts on Ai, the growing importance of copper, and the latest mining industry news in this week's Nugget!
🗨 In Copper We Trust
One of my favorite t-shirts in my mining/geology-themed wardrobe states: “In Copper We Trust.” While this shirt is in reference to the historic copper mining town of Butte, America, I think we can all agree it’s pretty fitting during this green energy transition! Electrification is skyrocketing the demand for copper, which is expected to reach 36.6 million tonnes by 2031. The mining industry is scrambling to keep up and close the potential supply gap, but luckily, we are starting to see copper get the recognition this humble metal deserves!
Head of New Media
🔥 What's New
More Than Just Robots: How AI Is Revolutionizing The Mining Industry
Artificial intelligence is taking over the world - including the mines! From robot miners to optimized pit designs, AI has the potential to revolutionize the mining industry. But with great power comes great responsibility. In the latest Monthly Mining Roundup, our experts at Prospector dug into the pros and cons of mining AI. While the future looks bright, Jon & Tetyana warn that quality data, transparency, and ethical oversight will be key to ensuring this technology benefits both the industry and society.
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🎧 On The Rocks
📰 In The News
US DOE Upgrades Copper To Critical Mineral Status
The U.S. Department of Energy has for the first time designated copper as a critical mineral, recognizing its indispensable role in the clean energy transition. Copper joins metals like lithium, cobalt, and nickel on the DOE's 2023 Critical Materials List, which identifies materials integral to renewable technologies but at high risk of supply disruption. With copper demand set to double by 2035 driven by electrification, its inclusion reflects urgent needs to boost domestic production. The DOE analysis informs eligibility for tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. Stakeholders like the Copper Development Association have welcomed copper's critical designation, agreeing it is vital for energy security.
Over 20M Tonnes Of Copper Demand Could Be Destroyed Through 2030
BMO warns high copper prices could spur rapid demand destruction, with up to 21.5 million tonnes at risk through 2030 as users aggressively thrift and substitute. Producers benefiting now face excess capacity if momentum builds. With mines taking over a decade to develop, supply can't quickly adjust if demand declines. Bullish narratives could prove overly optimistic if thrifting accelerates. The report cautions against assumptions of endless growth, noting market dynamics could shift faster than supply can respond.
True “Dice” Shape Of Lithium Could Lead To Safer Batteries
UCLA researchers revealed lithium's natural atomic shape is an orderly polyhedron, not hazardous spikes, when deposited corrosion-free. This discovery fundamentally revises how lithium metal accumulates, suggesting its morphology can be controlled to prevent dangerous shorts in next-gen batteries. Tuning the process could enable safer, higher-energy lithium metal batteries. The findings were enabled by applying cryo-electron microscopy techniques from biology to image delicate battery materials. Resolving lithium's fundamental structure provides new insights into harnessing its reactivity.
UK & Zambia Announce Renewables And Mining Investments
The UK and Zambia have sealed a $3.7 billion clean energy and critical mineral partnership. The deal aims to spur private investment into Zambia's bountiful mining and renewable sectors, while securing key battery metal supplies for the UK. As a major copper and cobalt producer with plentiful solar and hydro resources, Zambia offers prime investment opportunities. For climate-vulnerable Zambia, the agreement provides a model to leverage natural advantages into a sustainable, low-carbon economy. By growing Zambia's green mining and energy capacities collaboratively, the nations hope to boost jobs and environmental standards.
The Mining Paradox
Ben Lepley discusses the need to mine nickel and other metals responsibly to enable the energy transition, even though deposits often overlap with biodiversity hotspots and developing nations. He argues improved communication, raising industry standards, and participation by sustainability-focused professionals can help achieve this balance. Overall, he makes the case that mining is necessary but must be done conscientiously to limit environmental and social impacts.
📱 Trending On Social
2023 DOE Critical Minerals Assessment
This report assesses critical materials needed for renewable energy and decarbonization to inform U.S. strategies. As clean energy demand grows, certain metals and minerals face supply risks. The Department of Energy screens and evaluates material criticality out to 2035 based on importance to key technologies and supply risk. The goal is to anticipate roadblocks and mitigate criticality through research, policy, and supply expansion. Proactive strategies can ease the transition to a low-carbon economy.
❓Prospector Poll (Anonymous!)
What do you think is the most critical use of copper today?
Each week we want to get your opinion about the mining industry. We'll release the results with next week's Nugget!
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