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Demand for Chilean copper could reach 9.6Mt in 2040 due to electric vehicles

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2022
Demand for Chilean copper could reach 9.6Mt in 2040 due to electric vehicles

If only electric vehicles were sold by 2040, global demand for Chilean copper would reach 9.6Mt that year, implying higher prices of the metal and increased revenues for the industry and the country, according to a study by state copper commission Cochilco.

The study also considers a scenario without the transition, under which demand for Chile’s refined copper would rise from 2.8Mt in 2025 to 3.5Mt in 2030 and 5.4Mt in 2040. 

The projection considered four elements of the energy transition: electromobility, low-emissions energy, energy storage and the electrical networks necessary to support the system. The full report can be seen here (in Spanish).

Copper is Chile's main natural resource product, accounting for around 11% of GDP and 55% of exports over the last decade. However, the study warns that the rise in copper prices could encourage the appearance of alternatives that could be adopted by the incipient electric vehicle industry.

Figures from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) indicate that world copper production in 2020 reached 20.6Mt, with Chile being the largest producer with 5.7Mt. Refined copper production in the country reached 1.9Mt that year.

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