University of Nevada Las Vegas
Climate Change Mitigation, the Energy Transition and the Minerals Industry
Climate change mitigation will require a significant decrease in the CO2 emissions associated with transport and energy generation and more. However, the metal and mineral requirements for this transition are often neglected when developing plans and policy around combating climate change. In reality, moving to a low-CO2 future will require significant (in some cases >500%) increases in production of key minerals and metals beyond the record levels of production the mining industry has already achieved, even if we can also increase the recycling of these commodities. A number of these metals and minerals are already generally considered critical, meaning that they are subject to significant supply chain risk. It is likely that the increases in demand as a result of the transition to low- and zero-CO2 energy generation, storage and transport and the associated upgrades needed to grid and other infrastructure will be the main drivers of the minerals industry for decades to come. Secondary sources of the metals and minerals required for the energy transition such as mine waste and tailings also need to be assessed, and mining operations need to consider how they can move towards carbon neutral operations. This presentation will outline the mineral requirements for a low CO2 future, why meaningful climate change mitigation will necessarily rely on the raw materials supplied by the minerals industry, and the implications of this for the future of mining and mineral and metal extraction.
Simon Jowitt is currently an Associate Professor of Economic Geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He has degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the Camborne School of Mines, and the University of Leicester, all in the UK. Simon’s research focuses on the use of geochemistry to unravel geological processes in a variety of settings with direct application to mineralizing systems and mineral exploration. He has also undertaken extensive research on mineral economics, global metal resources and the security of supply of the critical elements, and the “economic” side of economic geology. Simon has published more than 105 scientific papers and peer-reviewed book chapters since 2010 and was awarded the Society of Economic Geologists’ Waldemar Lindgren Award in 2014.