Growing demand for electric vehicles is important to help cut transport emissions, but it will also lead to new mining. Without a careful approach, we could create new environmental damage while trying to solve an environmental problem.
Like solar panels, wind turbines and battery storage technologies, electric vehicles require a complex mix of metals, many of which have only been previously mined in small amounts.
These include cobalt, nickel and lithium for batteries used for electric vehicles and storage; rare earth metals for permanent magnets in electric vehicles and some wind turbines; and silver for solar panels.
Our new research (commissioned by Earthworks) at the Institute of Sustainable Futures found that under a 100% renewable energy scenario, demand for metals for electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies could exceed reserves for cobalt, lithium and nickel.
To ensure the transition to renewables does not increase the already significant environmental and human impacts of mining, greater rates of recycling and responsible sourcing are essential.
For the rest of this article: https://theconversation.com/electric-cars-can-clean-up-the-mining-industry-heres-how-115369