Joe Carr Innovation Leader Mining Innovation Director
Joe is a mining engineer with more than a decade of industry experience. Graduating from Camborne School of Mines and holding a MEng in Mining Engineering, Joe has experience in international mining settings, working on notable projects for Barrick Gold at Lagunas Norte and Pueblo Viejo, as well as Oyu Tolgoi for Rio Tinto. He has worked directly in mine design, feasibility studies, due diligence and operations.
At Axora, Joe helps Metals & Mining companies find and engage with the latest advanced technology.
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I've seen this image going round, but I thought some context would be key - what does 4.1mt of copper actually mean? Is it really worth it? So lets talk renewable energy.
Wind turbines use around 8t of copper per MW installed and the average turbine size at the moment is 8MW - so 64t of copper per turbine. So what could Palabora's copper supply actually make? Well that's 64,000 turbines, or 512GW of power. For context in 2020 the worlds total installed wind capacity was 743 GW.
So what does this metal ball actually mean? With it, we could expand wind power by 68% globally. Or locally in the UK we just had an auction for 25GW of power (3,125 8MW turbines). At the start of 2022 the UK had 24GW of power. We need 200,000t of copper (at least) for these turbines which would double our capacity.
So before we decide what that copper ball might mean reactively, lets have a small think about all the good it can do. Given the copper can do all that and the area to encompass the whole mining operation, tailings, processing and facilities is less than 100km2, I'd say that was a pretty good deal.