There is a rapidly growing demand for the "critical metals" that are needed electronics  and ultra-strong magnets but there is also a huge demand for the bronze-age staple, copper, which we need for all the transmission wires, motor windings and transformers of our electrified, low-carbon economy.

Dietmar Müller, Jo Condon, Julian Diaz, and Rohitash Chandra explain how the EarthByte research group's virtual Earth lets us look deep below the surface and travel back in time. One of its many applications is to understand where copper deposits have formed along mountain belts.

Travelling through deep time to find copper for a clean energy future
Using geology and AI, a virtual model of how the Earth’s tectonic plates have evolved can help reveal deposits of copper.

The peer-reviewed, research paper behind this article can be found here:

Predicting the emplacement of Cordilleran porphyry copper systems using a spatio-temporal machine learning model
Porphyry copper (Cu) systems occur along magmatic belts derived in subduction zones. Our current understanding of their formation is restricted to obs…

Worried about the side-effects of mining for copper ?

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Unless mining is done differently, rushing to bring copper mines into production could unleash unacceptable, catastrophic impacts.
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Editor: Louis Moresi