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IEA: Clean energy progress after the Covid-19 crisis will need reliable supplies of critical minerals

May 6, 2020
By Tae-Yoon Kim, Milosz Karpinski

The United States and the world needs to ensure a more stable, wider sourced supply of critical minerals to ensure energy progress in the future.

The International Energy Agency reports, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many countries locking down their peoples and economies, hitting mining operations worldwide, including mining for critical minerals that are critical to energy technologies. As the IEA report notes:

“Clean energy technologies generally require more minerals than fossil fuel-based counterparts. An electric car uses five times as much minerals as a conventional car and an onshore wind plant requires eight times as much minerals as a gas-fired plant of the same capacity.”

If world governments continue to demand cleaner technologies be used for their energy supplies, whether for highly efficient fossil fuel power plants or renewable sources, the world should expand the sources of critical minerals, including widening the resource base from a larger number of countries with minerals, and ensure timely investment in new mines, and, in countries where regulations are barriers to mining, reforming regulations to allow responsible mining.