Critical Minerals Trends: Broad strokes becoming clear, details difficult to predict

Our global society is experiencing unprecedented challenges: humanity’s environmental footprint demands urgent and concerted actions, geopolitical tensions are making everyone nervous about the future of global supply chains, and technological breakthroughs in almost every aspect of life are driving industrial transformation. And all of this is having major effects on the demand and supply of minerals and metals, especially those that are considered vital inputs for the low-carbon energy transition and modern technologies.

In 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that in 2040, if the world wants to transition to a net-zero future, it will require six times more minerals and metals than we need today to build clean energy technologies. A less ambitious agenda, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature increases to less than 2°C, as agreed under the Paris Agreement, will still require four times more minerals and metals in 2040 than we use today. In any case, the demand for minerals and metals is set to rise significantly.

In reality, it is difficult to predict the volume of future demand with certainty. For one, current projections do not factor in how evolving technologies, efforts to find mineral substitutes to reduce geopolitical risks, and recycling may affect the demand for critical minerals.

Similarly, forecasts mainly assume that the energy transition demand will be driven by advanced and emerging economies, the same that are currently driving the clean energy technology revolution. However, a significant portion of future demand for minerals and metals will come from other sources, including the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is driven by digital technologies, and perhaps more importantly, developing countries’ demographic growth and organic industrial needs, which are extraordinarily resource intensive. In any case, current forecasts are surely underestimated, as observed by the mounting pressure on the minerals market.

New mines take time to develop

Obviously, the mining industry has a critical role to play in supplying the minerals and metals needed for a better planet. According to the IEA, however, as matters stand today, investments in new mining projects and the supply of high-demand minerals are considered insufficient, pointing to the possible risk of shortages in the short to medium term.

There are many reasons for this shortage. First, different minerals are facing their own supply challenges. For instance, several ongoing mature mining projects are experiencing declining ore grades (for example, copper), and it can take several years (10–15 years, at best) for greenfield mining projects to start production. Second, some critical minerals are concentrated in a handful of countries and are produced by a few companies. This “cartelization” is particularly challenging when producing countries are also mired in political and governance challenges (for example, nickel in Russiacobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and rare earth elements in Myanmar). Third, the production of some minerals comes at a high cost to the environment, requiring improved mining practices to gain acceptance on the global market (such as rare earths and nickel).

Lagging mineral supplies have unsurprisingly led to a rise in the price of several critical minerals, adding further pressure on the mineral market. In 2021, it was estimated that the prices of lithium and cobalt had doubled, while the prices of copper, nickel, and aluminum had increased by up to 40%. This caused major concerns about the costs and affordability of clean technologies and a risk of retarding adoption at scale.

Are there short-term pathways to supply challenges?

It seems increasingly clear that the mismatch between demand and supply for several critical minerals needed for the energy transition, digital transformation, and wider industrial development is not likely to wane, at least in the short term. Where technically and economically feasible, recycling may be part of the answer for short-term suppliers, although current recycling rates are too low to fill the gap: almost nil for lithium and rare earths, a bit more than 30% for cobalt, and around 45% for copper. Most importantly, in the medium term, an integrated approach to the energy transition will minimize waste from future technologies.

The mining industry produces large volumes of waste, which can contain substantial concentrations of critical minerals—such as antimony, rare earths, or vanadium—that could be re-exploited for recovery. While reprocessing waste has its own environmental costs, many actors are exploring this option as a viable alternative to new mine development as tight market conditions help the business case for extracting from waste.

Finally, the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector is a potential supplier of several minerals needed for the energy transition. For instance, it is estimated that the ASM sector produces about 25% of global cobalt and tin, respectively, and 26% of global tantalum production. Tungsten, copper, manganese, zinc, and lithium are also mined by the ASM sector, but there is a lack of reliable data to quantify this production. Despite its potential for some minerals, many others are simply not feasible for the ASM sector. Further, the sector is highly heterogeneous—mines are owned by individuals, families, groups, and cooperatives and are operated informally in many cases and illegally in some cases. Their methods of production—linked to the use of toxic chemicals, the absence of health and safety protection, impacts on the environment, and the absence of structured support to enable them to provide responsibly sourced minerals—are key bottlenecks. For those reasons, sourcing from ASM is not a guarantee against supply shortage risks.

In the short term, a single solution may not be sufficient to address the mismatch between the exponential demand and the slow supply response. In fact, it will probably be a combination of different supply efforts. The ability to provide the market with certainty about sustainable mineral supplies will determine the pathways our society takes to respond to global challenges. In the medium to longer term, greater efforts will also have to be placed on the efficiency of technologies, including on the development of technologies that require fewer minerals. Researchers will also have to work on technologies that have a longer shelf life.

The preceding was originally published on Mexico Business News and is republished here with permission.

0 0 votes
Évaluation de l'article
S’abonner
Notification pour
guest
47 Commentaires
Le plus ancien
Le plus récent Le plus populaire
Commentaires en ligne
Afficher tous les commentaires

Код binance
il y a 1 année

I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.

ein binance Konto eröffnen
il y a 1 année

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

registrácia na binance
il y a 1 année

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you. https://www.binance.com/sk/register?ref=T7KCZASX

bonus pri prihlásení na binance
il y a 1 année

Thanks for sharing. I read many of your blog posts, cool, your blog is very good. https://www.binance.com/cs/register?ref=P9L9FQKY

gate io
il y a 1 année

I am sorting out relevant information about gate io recently, and I saw your article, and your creative ideas are of great help to me. However, I have doubts about some creative issues, can you answer them for me? I will continue to pay attention to your reply. Thanks.

binance code
il y a 1 année

Thank you for your sharing. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your article that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me? https://accounts.binance.com/en/register-person?ref=PORL8W0Z

gateio
il y a 1 année

I am an investor of gate io, I have consulted a lot of information, I hope to upgrade my investment strategy with a new model. Your article creation ideas have given me a lot of inspiration, but I still have some doubts. I wonder if you can help me? Thanks.

Inscrivez-vous pour obtenir 100 USDT
il y a 1 année

I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article. https://www.binance.com/fr/register?ref=FIHEGIZ8

Iscriviti a binance
il y a 1 année

Can you be more specific about the content of your article? After reading it, I still have some doubts. Hope you can help me. https://accounts.binance.com/it/register?ref=RQUR4BEO

gate borsası
il y a 1 année

Your article made me suddenly realize that I am writing a thesis on gate.io. After reading your article, I have a different way of thinking, thank you. However, I still have some doubts, can you help me? Thanks.

Meilleur code de parrainage Binance
il y a 1 année

I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article. https://accounts.binance.com/fr/register-person?ref=V3MG69RO

gateio
il y a 1 année

At the beginning, I was still puzzled. Since I read your article, I have been very impressed. It has provided a lot of innovative ideas for my thesis related to gate.io. Thank u. But I still have some doubts, can you help me? Thanks.

gateio
il y a 1 année

At the beginning, I was still puzzled. Since I read your article, I have been very impressed. It has provided a lot of innovative ideas for my thesis related to gate.io. Thank u. But I still have some doubts, can you help me? Thanks.

gate io türkiye
il y a 1 année

At the beginning, I was still puzzled. Since I read your article, I have been very impressed. It has provided a lot of innovative ideas for my thesis related to gate.io. Thank u. But I still have some doubts, can you help me? Thanks.

gate.io türkiye
il y a 1 année

After reading your article, I have some doubts about gate.io. I don’t know if you’re free? I would like to consult with you. thank you.

gate io
il y a 1 année

After reading your article, I have some doubts about gate.io. I don’t know if you’re free? I would like to consult with you. thank you.

Регистрация на binance
il y a 1 année

Can you be more specific about the content of your article? After reading it, I still have some doubts. Hope you can help me. https://www.binance.com/ru-UA/register?ref=YY80CKRN

tạo tài khoản binance
il y a 1 année

Can you be more specific about the content of your article? After reading it, I still have some doubts. Hope you can help me.

binance সাইনআপ
il y a 1 année

Thanks for sharing. I read many of your blog posts, cool, your blog is very good.

бнанс створення акаунту
il y a 1 année

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you. https://accounts.binance.com/uk-UA/register?ref=B4EPR6J0

binance
il y a 1 année

Can you be more specific about the content of your article? After reading it, I still have some doubts. Hope you can help me. https://www.binance.com/ar/register?ref=GJY4VW8W

binance hesap açma
il y a 1 année

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

最佳binance推薦碼
il y a 1 année

Your article helped me a lot, is there any more related content? Thanks! https://accounts.binance.com/zh-TC/register?ref=WTOZ531Y

gate io vip 1
il y a 1 année

Thank you very much for sharing. Your article was very helpful for me to build a paper on gate.io. After reading your article, I think the idea is very good and the creative techniques are also very innovative. However, I have some different opinions, and I will continue to follow your reply.

User Login
il y a 1 année

The point of view of your article has taught me a lot, and I already know how to improve the paper on gate.oi, thank you. https://www.gate.io/vi/signup/XwNAU

binance sign up
il y a 1 année

Thanks for shening. I read many of your blog posts, cool, your blog is very good. https://www.binance.com/en/register?ref=P9L9FQKY

gateio
il y a 1 année

I may need your help. I tried many ways but couldn’t solve it, but after reading your article, I think you have a way to help me. I’m looking forward for your reply. Thanks.

binance sign up
il y a 1 année

Thank you for your shening. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your enticle that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me? https://accounts.binance.com/en/register-person?ref=P9L9FQKY

Log in
il y a 1 année

The point of view of your article has taught me a lot, and I already know how to improve the paper on gate.oi, thank you. https://www.gate.io/pt-br/signup/XwNAU

binance register
il y a 1 année

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you. https://accounts.binance.com/en/register-person?ref=P9L9FQKY

gateio
il y a 1 année

I have read your article carefully and I agree with you very much. This has provided a great help for my thesis writing, and I will seriously improve it. However, I don’t know much about a certain place. Can you help me? https://www.gate.io/zh-tw/signup/XwNAU

gateio
il y a 1 année

I may need your help. I tried many ways but couldn’t solve it, but after reading your article, I think you have a way to help me. I’m looking forward for your reply. Thanks.

gate io
il y a 1 année

I may need your help. I tried many ways but couldn’t solve it, but after reading your article, I think you have a way to help me. I’m looking forward for your reply. Thanks.

テザー チャート
il y a 1 année

Reading your article helped me a lot and I agree with you. But I still have some doubts, can you clarify for me? I’ll keep an eye out for your answers.

gate io login
il y a 1 année

Reading your article helped me a lot and I agree with you. But I still have some doubts, can you clarify for me? I’ll keep an eye out for your answers.

Handel mit Kryptowährungen
il y a 1 année

Reading your article has greatly helped me, and I agree with you. But I still have some questions. Can you help me? I will pay attention to your answer. thank you.

Khu vực dành cho người mới bắt đầu trên gate io
il y a 1 année

Reading your article has greatly helped me, and I agree with you. But I still have some questions. Can you help me? I will pay attention to your answer. thank you.

binance US registrieren
il y a 1 année

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you. https://accounts.binance.com/de-CH/register-person?ref=YY80CKRN

Cont Binance
il y a 11 mois

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you. https://accounts.binance.com/ro/register-person?ref=WTOZ531Y

Création de compte Binance
il y a 11 mois

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you. https://accounts.binance.com/fr/register-person?ref=S5H7X3LP

Utwórz darmowe konto
il y a 11 mois

Thanks for sharing. I read many of your blog posts, cool, your blog is very good. https://accounts.binance.com/pl/register-person?ref=WTOZ531Y

20bet
il y a 10 mois

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

20bet
il y a 10 mois

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

20bet
il y a 10 mois

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

20bet
il y a 9 mois

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

20bet
il y a 9 mois

I am currently writing a paper and a bug appeared in the paper. I found what I wanted from your article. Thank you very much. Your article gave me a lot of inspiration. But hope you can explain your point in more detail because I have some questions, thank you. 20bet

20bet
il y a 9 mois

Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you. 20bet

47
0
Nous aimerions avoir votre avis, veuillez laisser un commentaire.x