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Using scenarios to understand copper mining

The work starts from the point that effective exploration targeting for copper requires an understanding of the future of copper mining. However, as the copper industry faces ever-greater economic, technical, environmental and social challenges, the characteristics of the copper mine of the future are ever-more unclear. The work therefore suggests the use of scenarios to develop differing hypotheses about the future of the copper mining industry, which may lead to a wider consideration of the possible copper exploration targeting strategies available. Four scenarios were developed based on the two main strategic aims of the copper mining industry – first optimising existing assets and the project pipeline; and second, generating new ideas and mineral discoveries. The scenarios are named: 
Under Siege (struggling to optimise existing assets, and struggling to generate new ideas);
Counting House (successfully optimising existing assets, but struggling to generate new ideas);
Crusades (successfully optimising existing assets and generating new ideas); and
Peasants’ Revolt (struggling to optimise existing assets, but generating new ideas). The work concludes that no existing copper mining company, copper mine, or copper mine project is sufficiently robust to be viable across all scenarios. The industry therefore should invest more in developing copper mines, copper projects and strategies that are robust and flexible over the long-term; otherwise copper mining companies and the industry as whole will face difficult, make or break, strategic choices. 

John Sykes

The work starts from the point that effective exploration targeting for copper requires an understanding of the future of copper mining. However, as the copper industry faces ever-greater economic, technical, environmental and social challenges, the characteristics of the copper mine of the future are ever-more unclear. The work therefore suggests the use of scenarios to develop differing hypotheses about the future of the copper mining industry, which may lead to a wider consideration of the possible copper exploration targeting strategies available. Four scenarios were developed based on the two main strategic aims of the copper mining industry – first optimising existing assets and the project pipeline; and second, generating new ideas and mineral discoveries.