Demand for critical minerals drives massive changes in global economy – by Tobias Burns (The Hill – April 30, 2024)

The race to beef up global supply chains for metals and minerals crucial to the ongoing energy transition is heating up. Companies are jockeying for position within shifting production networks and legislatures are advancing packages to pull mineral processing away from China, where the industry has been concentrated for decades.

At stake in the quest for mineral resources is everything from an international environmental ban on scraping the ocean floor to barbaric labor norms in developing countries, where mining operations have long been criticized by human rights groups.

At the core of multiple controversies is surging demand for critical minerals — metals such as cobalt, lithium and copper that go into building batteries, magnets, electronics and component parts for energy technologies intended to replace the fossil fuels that have driven global warming and climate change.

Demand for lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper is on track to outpace production through 2050, according to a recent report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

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