What Green Energy Means For Mining

As the world turns to green energy to combat climate change, humanity’s demand for mineral resources to fuel these sources is poised to increase dramatically. Green energy sources use far more mineral resources than fossil fuels, which means there will be more, not less, pressure on the American mining industry. Below are several recent articles regarding anticipated mineral needs to accommodate green energy and climate change goals, along with some key takeaways.

1. Climate Change and the Energy Transition Demand a U.S. Mining Revolution (Real Clear Energy, 5/21)

  • Estimated need (in percent increase) for critical materials to meet 2040 climate change goals:
    • Lithium:           +4,200%
    • Graphite:         +2,500%
    • Nickel:              +1,900%
    • Rare-earths:       +700%

2. Another dirty little secret about green energy: It needs more mining to support Biden’s plan (Deseret News, 5/23)

  • Meeting needs for critical minerals to address climate goals may conflict with other goals, such as US land conservation and US defense interests regarding China (who dominates the market). Compromises will be necessary.

3. Mining industry to continue flying high through 2022 – report (Mining, 6/2)

  • The mining industry is in flux due to changing consumption patterns and environmental, social, and governance considerations shaping the future.
  • Investments in copper, lithium, and nickel projects are expected to increase.

4. Biden wants to go big on EV battery recycling, report says(California News Times, 6/7)

  • EV battery recycling could reduce the need for new raw materials.

5. Seizing The Moment: Mining And The Future Of Energy(Forbes, 6/7)

  • This article argues the mining industry will need to collaborate to overcome society’s trust deficit of the industry and poses three recommendations to do so:
  • Building investor confidence through purposeful Environmental, Societal, and Governmental (ESG) analysis,
  • Lowering existing and future footprints and impacts of mine sites, and
  • Rethinking supply chains.

6. 100-Day Review Outlines Steps to Strengthen Critical Supply Chains (6/8)

  • The Whitehouse prepared a report that outlined supply chain challenges and how the US can address them. Recommendations in the report include development of new sustainability standards for essential minerals, critical mineral mapping, and investing in domestic production.

7. Energy Secretary says US wants ‘responsible’ lithium mining(ABC News, 6/10)

  • The Biden administration wants to achieve both responsible mining to meet critical mineral needs and respecting the environment and Indigenous communities.