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Annual review: three key points in 2019 (copper)

Author:MART Release time:2019-12-24 Page View:7
First of all, decarbonization has become a top priority for governments and industries to reduce emissions. Second, ensuring that resources are reused

 With the end of 2019, some obvious trends can be observed. First of all, decarbonization has become a top priority for governments and industries to reduce emissions. Second, ensuring that resources are reused and recycled means that the circular economy has also risen to the top of the global policy agenda. Finally, as more resource extraction will be needed, the debate also focuses on how the industry can do it responsibly. And launched some important measures. Here are the details of these three key points since 2019.




Decarbonization is a top priority



This year, with the world's transition to more sustainable energy and transportation, the trend of decarbonization has become obvious. For example, the EU has finalized the "clean energy for all" package, including clean energy and energy efficiency goals, and has just released the outline of the European Green agreement, which includes the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. At the same time, in the United States, policies are being implemented to support the expansion of electric vehicles (EVS). This year, the U.S. Senate Committee on environment and public works and the House Committee on energy and Commerce passed the American transportation infrastructure act 2019 (Atia) and the leading infrastructure for tomorrow (lift) U.S. bill.



Getting rid of fossil fuel use in the field of transportation is another aspect of ongoing decarbonization. According to Bloomberg new energy finance's electric vehicle outlook 2019, the rise of electric vehicles is still a global trend. Two million electric vehicles were sold in 2018, compared with just a few thousand in 2010. This figure is expected to reach 10 million by 2025. In addition, the report also predicts that 57% of global new passenger vehicle sales will be electric vehicles by 2040, accounting for 30% of the global passenger vehicle fleet at that time.



These electric vehicles still need to be charged, and it is crucial to ensure that they use renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. The absorption of renewable energy is happening. The IEA says renewable power generation capacity will grow by 50% in the next five years alone.



Both developments mean more copper will be needed in the next few years, as it is a key component of electric vehicles (battery electric vehicles use two to four times more copper than traditional vehicles) and many renewable energy technologies. As electric vehicles and renewable energy are expected to continue to grow in the coming decades, copper will play an important role in decarbonization.



Circular economy is the top priority of policy agenda



Obviously, the world will need more resources in the future, because the new technology of decarbonization will need stable raw material flow. This means recycling will become more and more important. Circular economy has become the focus of global policy, especially in Europe, where a new plan of action for circular economy is being formulated.



For copper, progress has been made. The international copper research group (ICSG) estimates that 35% of the current global average copper use comes from recycled copper. Some industry players are already working on solutions to make the raw materials industry more cyclical.



In Germany, aurubis is extracting CO2 free excess heat from copper production and transporting it to hafencity East, near Hamburg, through a 3.7-kilometer (2.3-mile) pipeline. The project saves 20000 tons of CO2 per year - equivalent to about 10000 cars driving 12000 kilometers (7450 miles). The project means that hafenicity East is the first city community to fully supply CO2 free industrial heat.



In Belgium, metallo continues to innovate to make copper production more cyclical. Its groundbreaking new plasma oven allows the company to recycle low-grade materials, transforming them into high-grade metals and minerals.



In order to ensure a comprehensive circular economy, more similar initiatives will need to be taken and attention to urban mining expanded. At the same time, policymakers will need to take a holistic approach to ensure that the right regulatory framework is in place.



Responsible procurement and copper needs to be addressed



Recycling alone is not enough to meet the growth of copper demand. More resource extraction will be required in the future. Demand for copper alone is expected to grow by about 50% over the next 20 years.



But some wonder if there will really be enough copper in the future to meet the growing demand. The answer is yes. At present, the global copper reserves are estimated to be 830 million tons (USGS, 2019), while the annual copper demand is 28 million tons. In addition, according to USGS data, since 1950, there has been an average of 40 years of copper reserves and more than 200 years of resources, including reserves, deposits that have been proved and potentially profitable, and undiscovered deposits predicted based on preliminary geological surveys. These copper resources total 5 billion tons (USGS, 2014 and 2017).



In addition, how to extract this material has become more and more important. Sustainability and responsible sourcing are the top priorities of the copper industry. That's why copperprint was launched this year. The plan can be used as a guarantee system for responsible copper production. It introduces reliable verification of copper production practices (including mines, smelters and refineries) to make informed decisions on the use of materials and promote the sustainable development of the copper industry.

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