Lithium, cobalt production to soar as demand for clean energy increases:World Bank
The latest World Bank report states that production of minerals like graphite, lithium and cobalt could increase by nearly 500 per cent by 2050 to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies.
An estimated three billion tonnes (3,306,933,932 tons) of minerals and metals will be needed to deploy wind, solar and geothermal power as well as energy storage required for achieving a below two degrees celsius future.
The report 'Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition' also finds that even though clean energy technologies will require more minerals, the carbon footprint of their production -- from extraction to end-use -- will account for only six per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuel technologies.
The report underscores the important role that recycling, and reuse of minerals will play in meeting increased mineral demand. It also notes that even if we scale up recycling rates for minerals like copper and aluminum by 100 per cent, recycling and reuse will still not be enough to meet the demand for renewable energy technologies and energy storage.
In the current global context, COVID-19 is causing major disruptions in the mining industry across the world. In addition, developing countries that rely on minerals are missing out on essential fiscal revenues and, as their economies start to reopen, they will need to strengthen their commitment to climate-smart mining principles and mitigate any negative impacts.
The report states some minerals like copper and molybdenum will be used in a range of technologies while others like graphite and lithium may be needed for just one technology: battery storage. This means that any changes in clean energy technology deployments can have significant consequences on demand for certain minerals.