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The world’s transition to green energy is accelerating quickly. The sky may be the limit for what is possible, but in reality there are significant supply issues that are setting practical limits for how fast and how far the green revolution can proceed.

There is one way out of this quandary, one way forward: mining. That is because green technologies need a greatly expanded supply of critical metals to meet the growing demand.

As Visual Capitalist CEO Jeff Desjardins has written, “To fully transition to a green economy, we’ll need vast amounts of metals like copper, silicon, aluminum, lithium, cobalt, rare earths, and silver. These metals and minerals are needed to generate, store, and distribute green energy.”

Tesla provides a prime example. In the manufacture of the company’s electric cars, “aluminum is being substituted for steel,” he explains. “For the electric motor, Tesla is using AC induction motors (Model S and X) that require large amounts of copper and aluminum.” In addition, each battery needs lithium, cobalt, manganese, graphite and nickel.

It’s not only electric vehicles that need these limited-supply commodities. Charging stations, wind turbines, solar panels and grid-scale energy storage technologies need combinations of copper, silver, aluminum, zinc, silicon and rare earth metals.

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund corroborates this assessment: “The clean energy transition needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change could unleash unprecedented metals demand in coming decades, requiring as much as 3 billion tons.”

According to the IMF report: “Given the projected increase in metals consumption through 2050 under a net zero scenario, current production rates of graphite, cobalt, vanadium, and nickel appear inadequate. Current copper, lithium and platinum supplies also are inadequate to satisfy future needs, with a 30 percent to 40 percent gap versus demand.”

In light of the huge upside and the tremendous needs, I’ve made it a priority to invest in and develop several key exploratory projects that are focused on widening the supply of critical metals. My philosophy when it comes to the possibilities is: “It’s not about the risk — it’s about the opportunity.”

The opportunities are rich in southeastern Arizona, where my company, Intrepid Metals, is currently coordinating three projects that are moving from advanced exploration stage ventures toward extensive feasibility level studies.

Intrepid’s Coral Copper Project has identified deposits of copper, silver, zinc and gold in a region that has supported active mines for more than a century and a half. Intrepid’s Mesa Well Project is focused on copper opportunities in the Laramide copper belt between the Ray, San Manual-Kalamazoo and Safford copper deposits.

In nearby Tombstone, Intrepid has permitted a 3,000-metre drill program. As Intrepid describes it: “The main Tombstone District is famous as a host for high-grade silver, lead and zinc replacement bodies, fissures and veins that have yielded a historic production (1880’s to 1930’s) of over 30 million ounces of silver. The deposits are in Cretaceous carbonate rocks. The Cretaceous carbonate host rocks at Tombstone are underlain by Paleozoic carbonate rocks. Historic data suggests that productive stratigraphic horizons and structures similar to those in the main Tombstone District may be present on the Tombstone South Property.”

Once fully developed, these sites will offer both quantity and quality, especially the high-end copper that is intensely sought by industries across the globe. I’m aiming for these discoveries to increase the supply of critical metals needed to produce clean energy and expand its use beyond the power grid to vehicles, homes and industries.

As the world increasingly embraces carbon reduction and greater reliance on metal-dependent battery technologies, the success of the transition to a cleaner, high-technology energy future will depend on something very traditional: old-fashioned risk-taking and vision – both for promising projects, and a better future.