After decades of controversy, can the mining industry come clean? – by Catherine Early (Reuters -May 9, 2023)

May 9 – Efficient energy storage is key to the fight against climate change. Batteries for vehicles and to store energy from renewable power installations, are estimated to have the potential to slash carbon emissions in the transport and power sectors by 30%, according to the World Economic Forum.

But the estimated surge in demand for minerals needed to feed battery manufacturing for the clean energy transition is staggering. The World Bank has estimated that the production of graphite, lithium and cobalt needs to increase by 450-500% by 2050.

The mining sector already has a long history of environmental and human rights abuses, with recent high-profile cases such as the tailings dam collapses at Brumadinho and Mariana in Brazil still fresh in the minds of the public and investors. It has a considerable challenge ahead to not just stop damage from existing mines, but to prevent the growth of its operations leading to a simultaneous uptick in abuses.

The need for the mining sector to rectify its record has been acknowledged for some years. The 2001 launch of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) followed a recognition by the industry that it had a serious trust deficit with society, according to Aidan Davy, its chief operating officer.

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