onsdag 1. desember 2021

China’s growing control of global minerals supply leaves the US in the dust

If oil was the buzzword of geopolitics in the previous century, the key to global influence in an era of climate change will lie elsewhere: minerals that power green technology. In the run-up to the recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the International Energy Agency pointed out that demand will shift from coal and fossil fuels to minerals such as lithium, cobalt and copper in the coming decades, as countries transition to green energy.

Minerals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel are integral to the construction of batteries, while rare earth elements such as neodymium are crucial to wind turbines and electric vehicles. As electricity replaces fossil fuels, copper and aluminium will take centre stage as well. As a result, if the world is to meet its goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures to “well below 2 degrees Celsius”, as pledged in the Paris Agreement, the International Energy Agency estimates that demand for these minerals will increase hugely: for lithium, by as much as 40 times, while the market for graphite, cobalt and nickel will shoot up by around 20-25 times.