A massive copper shortage is on the horizon

It is estimated that mines will only meet 80% of copper needs by 2030

Photo collage of a landscape made up of various forms of copper. Raw ore, red and green in tone, is mimicking the shape of a mountain at the bottom of the image. In the centre, the positive end of an AA battery, like the sun rising on the horizon. The rays of sun radiating from it are rendered in two tones of copper sheet.
Less copper could make energy transitions more difficult
(Image credit: Illustration by Julia Wytrazek / Getty Images)

There is a problematic scarcity looming for one of the world's key elements, as recent reports indicate that copper is facing a pending shortage. While this may not sound consequential to the average person, experts have expressed significant concerns. Copper is widely "seen as a leading indicator of economic health" because "it is used practically everywhere — in homes and in factories, in electronics and in power generation," said Reuters

But while the element may be a key part of economic lifelines, by 2030 global copper mines will only meet 80% of the world's copper requirements, according to the International Energy Agency. Copper did recently reach its highest-ever price, ballooning above $11,000 per metric ton on the London Stock Exchange, but this was strictly due to investors piling on "in anticipation of deepening supply shortages," Bloomberg reported. Why is there going to be a shortage of copper, and what will it mean for the global economy? 

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Justin Klawans, The Week US

 Justin Klawans has worked as a staff writer at The Week since 2022. He began his career covering local news before joining Newsweek as a breaking news reporter, where he wrote about politics, national and global affairs, business, crime, sports, film, television and other Hollywood news. Justin has also freelanced for outlets including Collider and United Press International.