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World needs more copper if it is to move away from fossil fuels, says mining chief

Copper excavation needs to increase dramatically if the world is to switch to electric cars, according to one of the world’s leading mining figures.

Robert Friedland, co-chairman of Canadian firm Ivanhoe Mines, warned that the campaign to replace high-emission vehicles around the world could be blocked by a lack of access to key metals.

Speaking at the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh on Thursday, the billionaire financier said industry-leading electric vehicle maker Tesla “expects a global shortage of minerals for batteries, and we have yet to start electrifying cars “.

He predicted that “the demand for copper for electric cars will increase 10 times by 2030,” as follows: “The bigger the object you want to electrify, the more copper you need.

Friedland went on to say that despite global efforts to reduce harmful emissions, the world will still depend on hydrocarbons – generated by burning fossil fuels – “for a long time.”

“Even an electric car contains 25% hydrocarbons by weight due to the plastics used to make it lighter,” he said, adding: “When it becomes fashionable for institutional investors not to invest in hydrocarbons, you will have higher hydrocarbon prices, so Saudi Arabia’s role in energy transformation will become even more critical and central. “

Friedland went on to say, “It is highly strategic for Saudi Arabia to lead the reinvention of mining because we are not mining for money, we are mining as a means to an end.

Referring to the “Saudi Shield” – a geological area around the Red Sea – Friedland said his company has “non-invasive technology that generates a huge amount of electrical energy, producing a power plant of 2 km “.

“If there is water there, if there is copper, gold or nickel or even oil, we will see it,” he added.

Mary I. Bruner