The green transition has now become a global goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the climate crisis. This transition requires – among other things – large quantities of critical mineral raw materials (RMR), such as copper, cobalt, aluminum, etc. These mineral raw materials are the foundation on which modern technology is built, which is essential for renewable energy, manufacturing, infrastructure and the promotion of electrification.
However, the green transition faces a major challenge: the demand for MSW is constantly increasing from almost all sectors of the economy, and there is not enough of the necessary, available stock to meet the surge in demand.
In particular, according to the International Copper Association, the electrification of the planet is expected to increase the annual demand for copper to 38.5 million tons by 2035, compared to the current demand of about 25 million tons. For its part, S&P Global Market Intelligence predicts that annual global copper demand will nearly double to 50 million tons by 2035.
Recent global crises have highlighted the importance of security of supply in critical mineral raw materials. This challenge seems to be of particular concern to Europe, which until now depends on other countries for its supplies, which makes it vulnerable to disruptions. China’s recent decision, for example, to tighten controls on exports of graphite, a key material for electric vehicle batteries, has caused concern in the industry. However, some experts believe the move could be an impetus for other countries to step up efforts to develop alternative sources and materials, or even new battery technologies that do not use graphite.
In any case, with the current data and without sufficiency in critical raw materials, Europe will not be able to lead the green and digital transition, nor will it be able to fully cover its defense needs and ensure its competitiveness. Now recognizing mining as a strategic priority and looking for ways to manage the above challenges, the European Commission has proposed a comprehensive set of actions to ensure its access to a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials through the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA ). The act aims to reduce this dependence by enhancing the production, extraction and recycling of critical raw materials within European borders.
Greece at the forefront of developments
Today, we are facing a historic opportunity for our country, as Greece has significant natural resources, including copper, which can make it an important player in Europe’s green transition and energy security. Already, in the region of NE Halkidiki, a project of particular importance for national and European self-sufficiency in WMD is being developed, that of Skouria. It is a new, state-of-the-art copper and gold mine, part of Hellinikons Gold’s total investment of $3.2 billion, which will contribute to the resilience of the European supply chain and place modern Greece for the first time on the global copper production map.
Specifically, in the world-class porphyry deposit in Skouries there are confirmed reserves of 740,000 tons of copper and 3.6 million ounces of gold which, with the completion of the investment and the start of production of the mine, will significantly contribute to addressing the supply gap in critical metals, such as copper.
However, beyond the contribution of this investment to the promotion of Europe’s green transition, we must not forget the significant impact that such large-scale investments leave on the development of the national economy, but also of the local societies in which they operate.
As a matter of fact, Hellinikon Chrysos’ investment plan foresees additional investments of 1.9 billion dollars in the coming years, which will lead to the creation of 3,000 permanent and well-paying direct jobs, revenues of around 2 billion euros for the Greek State, while exports will exceed 11 billion euros. At the same time, it is estimated that the local market will be strengthened, since the value of purchases to Greek suppliers will be over 4 billion dollarswhile they are launched 80 million dollars for local projects of a social nature that will strengthen the local economy and the development of the region, leaving a legacy for future generations.