Column: Critical minerals supply improves but many risks remain – by Andy Home (Reuters – July 14, 2023)

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) – First the good news. The supply of minerals critical to the green energy transition could move close to levels needed to support climate pledges by 2030, according to the first annual review of the sector by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Investment in the critical minerals pipeline grew by 20% in 2021 and by 30% in 2022, led by lithium, copper and nickel. Exploration spending was up by 20% last year with Canada and Australia both registering year-on-year growth of over 40%, notably in hard-rock lithium plays, according to the IEA.

The less good news is that the sector needs to do more if it is to match the level of demand required to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Moreover, “the adequacy of future supply is far from assured”, the IEA said.

The IEA highlighted potential problems with project delivery times, a continued lack of geographical diversification and “mixed progress” on improving sustainable and responsible practices in minerals and metals production.

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