Letter: Copper demand requires radical extraction methods

Reading John Dizard’s column “Atomic race shows how the west can secure copper for its energy transition” (Opinion, FT Weekend, January 8) it’s clear that meeting the growing need for copper by increasing the domestic supply of the metal will require much more than the opening of new mines. As important — and what is needed — is new smelting capacity. Resurgence of copper production in the west rests on radical innovation in metals extraction technology.

Imagine a process that produces superior metal at lower cost with zero greenhouse gas emissions. Such technology would recapture domestic market share from foreign producers.

We must invent the future; we cannot simply legislate for it.

Donald R Sadoway
John F Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, US

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