Through this initiative, the Copper Alliance (CA) aims to answer a central question: how can the central role that copper plays in the energy transition, the circular economy and digitalisation be balanced with the potential environmental and social impacts of copper production?
The copper tutorial aims to provide a full picture of copper, from mining to end-of-life and recycling. It’s a complex story. Copper, as a base metal, is ubiquitous. If a system doesn’t directly use copper, copper has often played a role in its production. Copper makes applications more efficient, reliable and safe. Once mined, copper has a long lifetime of use. As it is one of the few metals that can be recycled without loss of properties, it not only has a long lifetime, but it also can have many lives.
To release these benefits, we need mining and recycling, i.e., primary and secondary raw materials. Gradually, as the world economy develops, the share of secondary raw materials can increase. But, there remains a need for mining to support societal growth, to provide copper for the green transition and to compensate for losses in an increasingly circular economy. Currently, there are close to 500 working copper mines, ranging from small operations to the world’s largest copper mines, such as Escondida, Grasberg or Morenci. How many mines are needed, and how can these mines be justified from an environmental or social perspective?
The copper tutorial is based on published materials. There is a rich literature on copper, and therefore, CA does not need to reinvent the wheel and can follow a curation approach. The tutorial provides short answers to frequently asked questions with links to further information.
While the copper industry is ever-changing, and new data and research is continually in development, CA experts work to provide information that is accurate and up-to-date. The tutorial answers are open for comments, and CA welcomes the viewpoints of those interested in the copper industry.
The copper tutorial is available at http://help.copper.fyi. Through an artificially-intelligent system, users can ask questions about copper. If an unanswered question remains, please type it in the search box, and an additional answer will be developed if it is available.
Welcome to the copper tutorial!
Last update: 3 June 2022