National Transportation Week: A Reminder of Our Rare Mineral Needs

Last week the U.S. recognized National Transportation Week, a time dedicated to the appreciation of our nation’s key infrastructure and the essential workers who move products throughout our nation’s roadways. It also serves as a reminder of the extensive need for rare minerals – like copper – to keep our nation’s transportation sector up and running for generations to come.

Our nation’s transportation needs are changing. The electric vehicle market is booming as our country rapidly transitions to clean and renewable energy sources. In 2021 alone, EV sales jumped 72%, with nearly 150,000 EVs sold in Q4 of 2021 alone.

But did you know that copper is a major component of electric vehicles? EVs use approximately four times more copper than conventional automobiles. And even though the U.S. was the fourth largest copper-producing nation in 2019, after Chile, Peru, and China, we do not currently have a domestic supply of copper that is steady enough to carry us through this clean energy transition. Well, we have it, but we haven’t tapped into it yet.

That’s where the Resolution Copper project comes in. This project alone has enough copper to manufacture almost 220 million EVs, or about half the projected global supply, by the year 2040. From the expected $1B annual tax revenue to the state of Arizona, to the 3,700 total jobs that the project will create, Arizona’s economy is well positioned to be jolted by this project, as will the clean energy and electric vehicle sectors. Importantly, Arizona is also home to many manufacturers directly involved in the electric vehicle production process. Mining this domestic copper supply will have a reverberating impact on our local economy.

“The minerals supply chain that will drive the electrification of our transportation sector and the energy transition is not only at risk from a perilous and growing import dependence, but the approaching minerals demand wave is set to strain every sector of the economy and requires an urgency in action from government and industry never before seen.” – Rich Nolan, president and chief executive of the National Mining Association

The transportation sector is integral to the fabric of American society. Between supply chains, travel, commuting, and personal consumption, personal vehicles and commercial infrastructure continue to play an essential role in our lives. The Resolution Copper project will help ensure that we have a thriving transportation sector as we navigate our national clean energy transition.