Electric vehicles can drive more responsible mining – by Pius Ginting and Payal Sampat (China Dialogue Ocean – February 12, 2021)


Pius Ginting is the coordinator of Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat in Indonesia. Payal Sampat is the mining program director at Earthworks in the United States.

The ocean waters surrounding eastern Indonesia and Papua New Guinea lie within the biodiverse Coral Triangle, home to some of the world’s most highly concentrated – and endangered – coral reefs.

In addition to being globally significant ecological sites, the reefs supply habitat for several important commercial and subsistence fisheries central to local communities’ lives.

Meanwhile, the area’s nickel deposits are attracting the attention of electric vehicle manufacturers, which rely on batteries containing nickel and other minerals like lithium and cobalt. Nickel demand is expected to increase six-fold by 2030 and Indonesia, which is already the world’s largest nickel producer, is dramatically scaling up production to meet it.

But it will require an about-face on a pollution problem that has plagued the country’s mining sector for years: deep sea disposal of mine waste, known as tailings.

Indonesians have long opposed the practice, citing evidence that the tailings would decimate fragile reefs and strain fisheries already suffering the impacts of the coal plants used to power existing operations.

For the rest of this article: https://chinadialogueocean.net/16166-electric-vehicles-can-drive-responsible-mining/