Declining responsible land-based mineral resources
Conventional land-based mining deposits have been exploited for centuries. The ore quality on land is declining, thereby increasing the amount of energy and water required for exploitation (1). Land-based deposits will become ever more difficult to extract, imposing higher environmental and social impacts.
Mineral resourcing and climate change are inextricably linked
According to Nature “the successful delivery of the UN sustainability goals and implementation of the Paris Agreement, requires technologies that utilize a wide range of minerals in vast quantities. Metal recycling and technological change will contribute to sustaining supply, but mining must continue and grow for the foreseeable future to ensure that such minerals remain available to industry. Mineral resourcing and climate change are inextricably linked, not only because mining requires a large amount of energy, but also because the world cannot tackle climate change without adequate supply of raw materials to manufacture clean technologies.” (2)
While DEME fully supports the transition to a circular economic model to address resource constraints, significant new supplies of metals are needed to address the near-term challenges of clean energy, transportation, rapid urbanization and population growth.
(1) T.E. Norgate, Deteriorating Ore Resources, in: T.E. Graedel, E. van der Voet (Eds.), Linkages of Sustainability, The MIT Press, 2009: pp. 130–148. doi:10.7551/mitpress/9780262013581.003.0008.
(2) S.H. Ali, D. Giurco, N. Arndt, E. Nickless, G. Brown, A. Demetriades, R. Durrheim, M.A. Enriquez, J. Kinnaird, A. Littleboy, L.D. Meinert, R. Oberhänsli, J. Salem, R. Schodde, G. Schneider, O. Vidal, N. Yakovleva, Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance, Nature. 543 (2017) 367–372. doi:10.1038/nature21359.