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Copper prices need to nearly double in order to prompt mining companies to build costly mines to meet rising demand for critical materials, according to billionaire Robert Friedland.

The mining magnate said that forecasts of copper prices reaching $9 000 a metric ton next year isn’t enough to stimulate the industry to take on risks of building huge, capital-intensive mines, especially in Latin America.

“We probably need about $15 000/t, stable for a long period of time, before the industry can really gear up and build those giant mines,” Ivanhoe Mines’ founder and executive co-chairperson said Friday in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Demand for metals like copper is set to jump as nations mandate cleaner energy technology while vying to develop their own supply chains.

Meanwhile, a slew of major setbacks at key mining operations is seen tightening the market for the wiring-metal in the coming year, erasing a large surplus that analysts had been expecting going into 2024. Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange traded at $8 531/t recently.