Minerals, Mining and the Green Revolution – by Emily King (Geology For Investors – February 2019)


While we still remain reliant on fossil fuels, there is tremendous momentum towards renewable energy in many countries. Increasingly, our homes and businesses are powered by solar panels and wind turbines. Nearly every year, new records are set for the amount of renewable energy power capacity added to global power grids.

Similarly, electric vehicles are being adopted rapidly and replacing their gas-powered fore-bearers. Within the next decade, there is expected to be an estimated 125 million electric vehicles on the roads, getting people and materials where they need to go without any gas or oil involved.

However, this green revolution will not run on bamboo; instead, it will require robust supplies of minerals, some of which can be difficult to obtain, to ensure that we can effectively harness the energy we need.

For example, minerals like lithium and cobalt are critical to the battery technologies that power electric vehicles and other devices. Rare earth elements (REE’s) like neodymium are key components of the magnets found in wind turbines.

Even solar panels require a variety of uncommon elements that can make production, purchase and adoption more difficult if supply issues drive up material prices. As nations increasingly move to a renewable energy economy, they will have to ensure they have the raw materials required to do so readily available.

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