Metals and minerals are key economic drivers. The world’s supply of these natural resources are key to the development of renewable energy, transportation and digital technology
Our society depends on mining resources to power our daily lives. A prime example is the production of electric vehicles — drivers of metal and mineral markets. These non-fossil fleets of transportation have a more metal intense footprint than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Hybrid and electric cars require more metals, because unlike traditional vehicles, the fuel tank for electric vehicles is in the form a battery.
Mineral demand increasing
The global demand for minerals and metal isn’t restricted to automobile production. As pointed out in a World Bank report, The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future, in order to meet Paris climate targets by shifting away from fossil-based economies and increasing investments into renewable technologies, a greater output of the world’s natural resources will be required.
“The technologies assumed to populate the clean energy shift (wind, solar, hydrogen and electricity systems) are in fact significantly MORE material intensive in their composition than current traditional fossil-fuel-based energy supply systems. Relevant metals demand roughly doubles for wind and solar technologies, but the most significant upsurge occurs with energy battery storage technologies — more than a 1000 percent rise for metals required for that particular clean energy option.”
Global pressure mounting
This increased demand for metals and minerals is placing increasing strain on global land supplies. As reported by Stanford University, sourcing and sustaining the minerals and metals required to drive a renewable economy, while minimizing environmental impact will be critical. Concerns over mineral availability has some companies looking beneath the ripple and currents of the world’s oceans in search for new deposits.
Headquartered in Canada, Nautilus Minerals has plans to be the first company to successfully mine copper, gold, zinc and silver from the sea floor with plans for a first mine site in Papua New Guinea.