Copper: The New Oil?

Copper is tipped to become the new oil as its demand escalates for being one of the most critical commodities in the world’s quest for zero emissions. However, given rising demand and copper market deficits, does the world face the possibility of running out of copper, or are we on the brink of a new commodity super-cycle?

 Following the revival of the broader economy after COVID-19, copper use has increased with the development of industrial sectors such as electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing and renewable energy systems.

Statista reports that by 2020, global refined copper consumption was at nearly 25 million metric tons – a record high since 2009 and an increase of 2.3 percent from the previous year. In the time frame between 2009 and 2020, copper use grew by 7.1 million metric tons.

Investing news also claims that “Africa is one of the most important sources of copper in the world, and is home to some of the most impressive copper belts. Two of the world’s 10 top copper-producing countries are found in Africa.”

This malleable and ductile commodity is a critical component of the majority of renewable energy tools for the green economy due to its high heat conductivity and efficiency as an electrical conductor. Additionally, copper is one of the few metals that can be fully recycled without sacrificing its conductivity.

Copper is widely used in construction, engineering, and electronics manufacturing because it is a highly efficient conduit. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global copper demand could double in the next twenty years as electrification ramps up, with clean energy applications accounting for up to 45% of total demand.

Over the last decade, in anticipation of such opportunities, we have concentrated our efforts on strengthening our mining capability, enabling us to confidently empower and equip our mining clients by expediting their requirements – enabling them to better meet growing demand. Should we be on the verge of a commodity super-cycle, our mining clients can confidently embrace this opportunity with Nurizon’s assistance.


As analysts predict an increased demand for copper in the coming years, the question appears to be:

Who will benefit from this increase in copper demand?

  1. Do you have the reserve?
    Copper production in Africa currently comes primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, and South Africa. However, it has been said that a new hot spot for copper is emerging in Namibia – we are currently engaged in 2 new copper mine studies in Namibia. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) 2020, global reserves are anticipated to be around 870 million tons. The annual demand for copper in 2020 amounted to 23.5 million tons.
  2. Can you recycle?
    The recovery and recycling of copper help to satisfy the increasing demand for copper while contributing to the sustainability of the environment for future generations. During the last decade, more than 30 percent of the global copper demand was met with recycled copper. Future resource efficiency will be based on the mining of primary copper followed by the recycling of secondary copper.
  3. Do you have adequate mining capability?
    Copper ore is mined either underground or open pit. Underground mining is relatively expensive and is typically limited to the extraction of valuable ores. When orebodies are relatively close to the surface, open-pit mining is used.  The DRC possesses some of the highest quality copper reserves globally. Some of the copper mines in DRC are estimated to contain grades above 3 percent. The global average is 0.6-0.8 percent. Nurizon’s multi-disciplinary engineering team can ensure the successful development of any type of orebody, whether underground, opencast, greenfields, or brownfields, with no location too remote.

Is the timing right?

Copper is a hot commodity right now, and if current trends continue, it may reach up to $20,000 per metric ton by 2025. The Bank of America anticipates further copper market deficits this year and continued inventory declines that have already reached levels not seen in 15 years. This indicates that current supplies fall short of meeting demand.


What does the growing copper demand mean for you? If the analysts are correct in their projections, there are exciting times ahead for those who fulfill the above-mentioned requirements. As Africa’s mining expert engineers, we look forward to equipping our clients to meet the growing demand and reaching record numbers in the coming years!