The world’s supply of critical minerals is vulnerable to disruptions that could slow the transition to clean energy because their mining and refining are concentrated in the hands of a few companies and countries, an international renewable energy body said on Tuesday.
Those minerals, used to build clean technologies from wind turbines to electric cars, have drawn increasing interest from national governments eager to cut emissions and fight climate change — an effort that could be slowed if countries don’t work together to diversify the sources of the materials, the International Renewable Energy Agency warned in a new report provided to POLITICO ahead of its release later this week.
IRENA, an intergovernmental organization that counts more than 160 countries as members, cited the limited capacity for mining and refining critical minerals even though it noted there was no scarcity of mineral reserves in the ground. And it warned potential supply disruptions could lead to short-to-medium term market constraints due partly to to under-investment in mining and processing.
The global energy transition is increasing the demand for several critical minerals, said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera, raising the need to develop policies that will help expand the number of sources and the countries that can benefit from their production.
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