Clean energy: How AI can help spot the copper we need

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Relevance: Artificial Intelligence can help discover copper deposits


Artificial Intelligence can help discover copper deposits formed along with ancient mountain ranges over the past 80 million years.

About Copper resources:

The global need for copper, however, could increase by 350 per cent by 2050, according to a 2016 study published in journal Science Direct. The study also underlined that the current reserves could deplete between 2035 and 2045, as wind and solar energy gains more traction and more people shift to electric vehicles.

So, the world is going to need massive quantities of copper

Applications of Copper:
  • Copper is an excellent conductor of thermal and electrical energy; the power systems that utilise copper generate and transmit energy with high efficiency and with minimum environmental impacts. The use of copper in energy systems helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
  • It can also be recycled completely many times over without any loss in performance.
  • Copper is a highly efficient mineral used in renewable energy systems to generate power from solar, hydroelectric, thermal and wind energy.
Formation of Copper resources:

The hot magmatic fluid inside the mantle has copper, which, after millions of years of further plate movement, moves closer to the surface and can be extracted.

Generally, copper deposits are locked up in remote locations, including the volcanic mountain chains such as the Andes and the Rocky Mountains.

When tectonic plates converge, one plate slides beneath the other and descends into the Earth’s mantle at rates of 2-8 centimeters a year (subduction). The process creates a variety of magmatic rocks (formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava) and copper deposits along the edge of the continent.

How AI can help locate Copper resources?

GPlates software is software that uses machine learning to understand the link between copper deposits and the evolution of the subduction zone.

Artificial intelligence measures how fast the tectonic plates are moving towards each other, how far the plate is from the subduction zone, how much copper there is in the crust, etc.


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