Column: Supply anxiety is the new hope for developing energy transition mines – by Clyde Russell (Reuters – May 25, 2023)

MELBOURNE, May 25 (Reuters) – Can “supply anxiety” drive the next mining boom and deliver the minerals vital for the energy transition? A fear that the world won’t produce enough copper, lithium, aluminium and other metals vital for electrifying virtually everything that runs on fossil fuels is an increasingly common theme.

Almost every speaker at this week’s 121 Mining Investment event in Melbourne made the same point: There isn’t enough production to meet anticipated demand, there aren’t enough projects in the pipeline, and even when new mineral deposits are discovered, the regulatory and financial barriers to developing them take years to navigate.

The overall message from many in the mining sector is that the energy transition is at real risk of being slower and costlier than anticipated because of a looming shortage of critical minerals.

The solutions are both obvious and hard to achieve. The most urgent task is to speed up and ease permitting of new mines and expansions of existing facilities, but if anything the momentum is heading the other way.

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