“The great facilitator in the future of energy is copper”

This was stated by Gianni Kovacevic, a Canadian expert in energy, natural resources, and emerging markets, minutes before participating as the main speaker of Conversations that Connect seminar, organized by Transelec, PULSO and Congreso del Futuro.

The international speaker talked with this media on how the energy trends he has been referring to during his visit to CESCO Week 2017 have evolved, pointing out that in recent years there has been a great change in favor of electrification and therefore of the demand for copper globally.

Kovacevic also referred to the enormous opportunity that this context implies for Chile and the importance of working with other industries. “What is completely disregarded and overlooked is the role that copper plays as a facilitator of energy systems. I think this is a challenge but also an opportunity because the future of energy, and we all agree now is electricity, the arteries and brains of the systems are basically built in copper, so we as an industry must continue to share this message”, he said.

What happened to the trends you spoke about during your previous visit?

Well, I think we have seen a big change. There are many governments, many jurisdictions, which are now auscultating or setting up this pivot for electrification, and I am talking about transport, but I am also talking about the ways in which societies create energy. The transport of energy will change; obviously, there will be an increase in electrification and a decrease in other things, and the way in which consumers are using their energy. This type of millennial society continues to mature and they are not having the same spending or consumption patterns those previous generations have. Therefore, it is going to be interesting to see how global energy impacts, but one thing is for sure; the increase in per capita copper use is growing. An example: when you build offshore wind power farm, which is now being built on a gigawatt scale around the world, you need 10 times more copper for every megawatt of that type of electricity that is created. This is a new and tremendous source of demand. We are talking about terrestrial wind energy, we are talking about solar energy and, of course, the electrification of transport, which is no longer a fairy tale as many thought two or three years ago. Now there are dates set in many countries of the world, where they say that transport to 2030 or 2040 has to be electrified and the leader, of course, is China, in all these fields.

In this context, what are the opportunities for Chile and copper?

Well, Chile, of course, is the world’s largest copper producer. If you talk to people in the energy trade, if you’re in a big meeting with a lot of very important people in the world of oil and gas, energy systems, renewable energy technology, everyone is suggesting that in the coming decades eventually everything it will end in electricity, and there will be and will increase the amplitude in the way we create the transfer and use the energy. The greener and cleaner we do that, the more need for copper. But when these people meet the word “copper” is not even mentioned. So I would suggest to this industry that we have to be present there, we need to be there when they talk about electricity so that we can explain the very delicate nature of the copper mining business, because very few mines are responsible for 50% of the primary copper production, and it takes many years to develop a new copper mine. So, should we have a seat on the table? At this moment we do not have it, but we will do it, because, of course, the great facilitator in the future of energy is copper.