Low carbon energy to boost metal mining demand

The transition to a clean energy system will boost demand for a wide variety of minerals and metals. That’s according to a new report from the World Bank, which says the continuing boom […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The transition to a clean energy system will boost demand for a wide variety of minerals and metals.

That’s according to a new report from the World Bank, which says the continuing boom in low carbon energy technologies such as wind, solar and battery storage will require an increase in the supply of aluminum, copper, lead, lithium, manganese, nickel, silver, steel and zinc.

Some of the minerals said to be required are relatively rare, such as indium, molybdenum and neodymium.

The World Bank claims the most significant example is electric storage batteries, where the demand for aluminum, cobalt, iron, lead, lithium, manganese and nickel is forecast grow in demand from a relatively modest level under a 4°C temperature increase scenario to more than 1000% under the 2°C plan outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of the Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice at the World Bank, said: “With better planning, resource-rich countries can take advantage of the increased demand to foster growth and development.

“Countries with capacity and infrastructure to supply the minerals and metals required for cleaner technologies have a unique opportunity to grow their economies if they develop their mining sectors in a sustainable way.”

Based on current trends, South America will play a key role in supplying copper and lithium, while China will continue to play a leading role in the production of practically every key metal required in low carbon generation.