Sustainable Minerals and Metals for a Low-Carbon Future
If certain metals and minerals are essential to our green revolution, our mining practices must adapt and grow to fulfil society’s demands.
One of the greatest questions concerning the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is where the vast quantities of metals and minerals required will be found. For example, the amount of lithium needed in 2050 for low-carbon energy provision is estimated to be 965% of total global lithium production in 2017.
If certain metals and minerals are essential to our green revolution, our mining practices must adapt and grow to fulfil society’s demands. Considering the sobering reality of current land-based mining practices, which severely damage local ecosystems and populations, this article offers several policy recommendations. As well as calling for local diversification of mine ownership, acknowledgement of the limits of resource traceability and the incorporation of the required metals and minerals into climate and energy planning, the report identifies the clear need for new resource streams.
Recognising the potential utility of deep sea mining to meet these long term resource needs, the article points to the Clarion-Clipperton Zone’s polymetallic nodules as a feasible alternative to the over-exploitation of terrestrial deposits, especially given the opportunity to proactively assess how deep sea extraction can be achieved while minimising adverse environmental and social impacts.
The full report can be found here.