Energy produced from renewable sources requires structures and equipment to produce it, store it, but also transport it, so that users can use it as an alternative to fossil-based energy.
To do this, the global system needs metals that can send electricity, produced by the sun or wind, to the supply points.
China is a nation that is strongly aiming at replacing oil and coal as energy sources through major projects in the wind and solar fields. But to support this energy transition it needs precious minerals, such as copper, aluminum, cobalt and lithium.
Consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates that China can only produce 16% of the copper it will need for its energy mix by 2060.
In a seven-chapter research report, Huang Miaoru, Gavin Thompson and Zhou Yanting of the UK-based Wood Mackenzie company describe the amount of copper and aluminum needed to upgrade China's electric vehicle production, strengthen its charging network and strengthen the production of the cables needed for this revolution.
Electrification means energy by wire and this requires metals, especially copper and aluminum, the supply of which is on the front pages of the Beijing government's agenda.
China needs to expand its national ultra-high voltage transmission networks, and copper is the country's Achilles heel, in fact it is essential for transportation of electricity, for cabling and for wind turbines.
China's domestic and foreign copper production, under its control, is only 16 percent of what the country needs.
Based on the percentages described and, given the urgency of supplies deemed strategic, the government has decided to reopen imports of copper and aluminum waste to be recycled , this has led to the rise in prices of such precious metals in the world.
But despite the ten-year commitment of the Beijing government in the international mining sector, aimed at acquiring copper mines around the world, both the share of its self-sufficiency mining that the percentage of ownership of raw materials compared to international mining companies remains low.
Automatic translation. We apologize for any inaccuracies. Original article in Italian.