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Mad About Metal: In Pursuit of Zero-Carbon

Posted February 10, 2023

Matt Insley

By Matt Insley

Mad About Metal: In Pursuit of Zero-Carbon

We begin our issue today — as we periodically do — with a patchwork of readers’ opinions on a medley of Rundown topics… 

“Could it be,” asks our first cheeky contributor, “the Chinese spy balloon was looking for Hunter Biden’s laptop? Or maybe they were just looking for farmland to purchase adjacent to strategic military bases and nuclear testing facilities? 

“Of course, the USG couldn’t shoot the balloon down until it was over water,” he adds. “They had to be sure the Chinese got all they needed.” 

Next, Stephen H. quotes something James Altucher said here Wednesday: One of the major requirements for an economic collapse is a complete loss of hope. You see this characteristic across every great economic collapse in history…

“Sometimes it is a gradual loss of hope,” our reader reminds, “or sometimes loss of hope can be very sudden and unexpected. Just saying.” 

Finally, Richard S. emphasizes: “NO, I never considered the Internet a passing fad. I did think 10 years was wasted trying to reproduce what we already HAD. 

“Prior to the general public’s access to the Internet via the World Wide Web,” he continues, “I was privileged to spend several years on a mainframe-based computer system which was developed by the University of Illinois Computer Education Research Lab (CERL) and commercialized by Control Data Corporation (CDC). 

“It was called PLATO.” 

We’ll close out today’s opinion section on that cliffhanger… If you want to read the intriguing conclusion (including Richard’s own hilarious interaction with ChatGPT), tune in Monday. 

Send your opinions to,

Your Rundown for Friday, February 10, 2023...

“Linchpin of a Zero-Carbon Economy”

If you’re a regular Rundown reader, you know one of the topics we’ve been hammering so far this year is an imminent copper shortage, particularly in respect to the hardpivot towards so-called “green” energy. 

We’ve mentioned, for instance, the eye-opening stat that electric vehicles — adored by eco-elites worldwide — require about three times the copper used in a conventional ICE vehicle. 

Furthermore, natural resource consultancy group Wood Mackenzie calls copper the “linchpin of a zero-carbon economy,” projecting a 10-million metric ton copper deficit over the next 10 years. 

But a recent Barron’s article headline caught my attention this week: “No, EVs Won’t Use Up the World’s Copper. Just Ask Elon.” 

Do tell. 

The tone of the article is nothing short of Shakespearean. You know the line from Hamlet: “[It] doth protest too much, methinks.” 

We’ll get to lithium in a minute… But we’re supposed to take Musk’s word for it?

So, ignore civil unrest and copper-mine shutdowns in the two largest copper producers in the world, Chile and Peru… And disregard the EPA’s banhammer on Alaska’s proposed copper “Pebble Mine”... Elon says we’re fine!

“I don't see how Elon can be correct,” avers legendary American investor Peter Schiff. “It's not like [there] is a huge excess supply of copper being mined. If demand goes way up due to EVs, more supply will have to be brought on stream to prevent prices from soaring.” 

The same goes for other mined materials — including EV battery-essential lithium. 

Which is why Sprott, “Global Leader in Precious Metals and Energy Transition Investments,” according to Sprott’s website, announced the launch of four new ETFs last week. 

Three of the four ETFs are pegged directly to miners and metals: Sprott Junior Copper Miners ETF (Nasdaq: COPJ), Sprott Lithium Miners ETF (Nasdaq: LITP) and Sprott Junior Uranium Miners ETF (Nasdaq: URNJ). 

The fourth ETF, the Sprott Energy Transition Materials ETF (Nasdaq: SETM), invests in stocks of companies involved in mining, exploration, production, recycling, etc. 

It’s early days for these ETFs, so it’s premature to draw conclusions, but the fact Sprott is convinced demand for these “energy transition” metals will skyrocket means something. 

As for uranium — and recycling — those are topics for another day. 

Market Rundown for Friday, Feb. 10, 2023

S&P 500 futures are down 0.45% to 4,070. 

Oil’s up 0.70% to $78.62. 

Gold is stalled at $1,875.50 per ounce. 

And Bitcoin’s retreated below $22k.

Send your comments and questions to,

Have a relaxing weekend — enjoy! We’ll be back with more on Monday…

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