Investment in renewable technologies and batteries is growing around the globe, driven by the need to decarbonise our economies and increasingly competitive prices.
But these technologies do not come at zero cost for the environment: they require vast amounts of minerals that are not always easy to obtain.
As mineral mining has intensified, easy-to-reach deposits are becoming rarer. This is forcing extractors to go deeper, offshore, and into ever more sensitive zones to find deposits.
Since 2010, the quantity of minerals required to generate power has increased by 50%, and a net-zero scenario would quadruple that amount.
By way of example, a typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car.
This poses a series of critical questions:
Will there be enough mineral resources to meet renewable energy demand?
How can the global economy protect itself against price shocks?
How can extraction be scaled up without worsening the existing problems linked to environmental integrity, health, safety, and corruption?
Experts are looking at potential solutions, including more sustainable supply chains, the implementation of safety nets to stabilise prices, and strengthened energy efficiency policy.