The PWC Mine 2023 report, themed Adapt To Thrive, has ranked copper at pole position in its critical metals list. In addition, South Africa was ranked highest amongst critical energy metal reserve listings, vis-à-vis copper producing nations, ahead of Zambia, Botswana and Angola.
PwC’s ‘SA Mine 2023’ report notes that we have entered the era of critical minerals. To make the energy transition real, the world must dramatically ramp up the use of low-emission green energy technologies. What unites all these technologies, whether they’re well-established or cutting edge, is their reliance on metals and minerals.
“Among the myriad metals, minerals and engineered materials essential for green energy technologies, there exists a group of metals of particular importance. These metals form the core of our net zero aspirations. They are of foundational importance to green energy technologies required in significant quantities across applications and expected to experience strong demand growth.”
“Copper’s unique properties of high conductivity, machinability, and corrosion resistance are needed across all green energy applications including renewable energy generation, transmission, distribution, storage and end-use.Importantly, renewable generation technologies are more copper intensive than traditional technologies. Photovoltaic panels, offshore wind turbines, and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure are key demand areas for copper.”
In addition, the report names Copper 360 as South Africa’s next major copper producer. The report’s analysis of Copper 360 is as follows:
“Copper 360 is a copper mining company with operations based in the Northern Cape, building South Africa’s next major copper producer. Formed in November 2022, following a reverse take-over of copper producer Big Tree Copper, and copper mining company SHiP Copper, the company has a focus on producing premium copper that will yield high cash margins. The company’s mining right covering 19,000 hectares to the north of the town of Springbok, holds 12 copper mines (some with developed infrastructure) and 60 copper prospects with advanced geological datasets. It is estimated that the life-of-mine across the various operations is over 100 years. South Africa mining companies have ensured they secure their long-term growth through expanding to critical minerals or for some changing their portfolios either geographically or transitioning to clean energy.”