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WSJ News Explainer: Looming Copper Shortage Threatens Green Tech Transition

While lithium remains the poster child of the green energy transition, stakeholders and media have started to pay closer attention to the other four “battery criticals” graphitecobaltnickel and manganese (for more ARPN coverage click on the respective metal) — and rightfully so.

However, one of the key components of 21st century renewable energy technology, copper, often continues to fly under the radar — possibly because many of us take it for granted as a mainstay metal, and because the U.S. Government does not consider copper a Critical Mineral.

Followers of ARPN well know that copper is an irreplaceable component for EVs wind turbines, solar panels, the electric grid and other green applications. Its Gateway Metal status (see ARPNs gateway metal report here) coupled with the material needs in the renewables sector have led to projections that ““[t]he world will need the same amount of copper over the next 25 years that it has produced in the past 500 years if it is to meet global demand.”

A recent Wall Street Journal News Explainer” video clip, accessible here, explores why copper is crucial to the global economy, and how its availability — or, more precisely, looming supply shortage — threatens the green tech transition.

Meanwhile, in spite of numerous pushes for copper’s addition to the United States government’s Critical Minerals List  – including ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty’s Public Comment responding to the Department of Interior’s draft Critical Mineral List — the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has thus far opted against affording the material “critical mineral” status.

Following the most recent USGS rejection, House Republicans from Western mining states set out to achieve “critical mineral” designation for copper via legislation.  As the WSJ explainer makes clear, the coming supply crunch puts an exclamation point on the case for copper as “critical.”