Climate Smart Mining: Minerals for Climate Action
Countries are taking steps to decarbonize their economies by using wind, solar, and battery technologies, with an end goal of reducing carbon-emitting fossil fuels from the energy mix.
But this global energy transition also has a trade-off: to cut emissions, more minerals are needed.
Therefore, in order for the transition to renewables to be meaningful and to achieve significant reductions in the Earth’s carbon footprint, mining will have to better mitigate its own environmental and social impacts.
Advocates for renewable technology are not walking blindly into a new energy paradigm without understanding these impacts. A policy and regulatory framework can help governments meet their targets, mitigate, and manage the impacts of the next wave of mineral demand to help the communities most affected by mining.
Today’s infographic comes from the World Bank and it highlights this energy transition, how it will create demand for minerals, and also the Climate Smart Mining building blocks.
Renewable Power and Mineral Demand
In 2017, the World Bank published “The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future”, which concluded that to build a lower carbon future there will be a substantial increase in demand for several key minerals and metals to manufacture clean energy technologies.
Wind power technology has drastically improved its energy output. By 2025, a 300-meter tall wind turbine could produce about 13 to 15 MW, enough to power a small town. With increased size and energy output comes increased material demand.
A single 3 MW turbine requires:
- 4.7 tons of copper
- 335 tons of steel
- 1,200 tons of concrete
- 2 tons of rare earth elements
- 3 tons of aluminum
In 2017, global renewable capacity was 178 GW of which 54.5% was solar photovoltaic technology (PV). By 2023, it’s expected that this capacity will increase to one terawatt with PV accounting for 57.5% of the mix. PV cells require polymers, aluminum, silicon, glass, silver, and tin.
Everything from your home, your vehicle, and your everyday devices will require battery technology to keep them powered and your life on the move.
Lithium, cobalt, and nickel are at the center of battery technology that will see the greatest explosion in demand in the coming energy transition.
Top Five Minerals for Energy Technologies
Add it all up, and these new sources of demand will translate into a need for more minerals:
|2017 Production||2050 Demand from Energy Technology||Percentage Change (%)|
|Lithium||43 KT||415 KT||965%|
|Cobalt||110 KT||644 KT||585%|
|Graphite||1200 KT||4590 KT||383%|
|Indium||0.72 KT||1.73 KT||241%|
|Vanadium||80 KT||138 KT||173%|
Minimizing Mining’s Impact with Climate Smart Mining
The World Bank’s Climate Smart Mining (CSM) supports the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals to secure supply for clean energy technologies, while also minimizing the environmental and climate footprints throughout the value chain.
The World Bank has established four building blocks to Climate Smart Mining:
- Climate Change Mitigation
- Climate Change Adaptation
- Reducing Material Impacts
- Creating Market Opportunities
Given the foresight into the pending energy revolution, a coordinated global effort early on could give nations a greater chance to mitigate the impacts of mining, avoid haphazard mineral development, and contribute to the improvement of living standards in mineral-rich countries.
The World Bank works closely with the United Nations to ensure that Climate Smart Mining policies will support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
A Sustainable Future
The potential is there for a low carbon economy, but it’s going to require a concerted global effort and sound policies to help guide responsible mineral development.
The mining industry can deliver the minerals for climate action.
How Decentralized Finance Makes Investing Universally Accessible
Investing has historically been expensive, cumbersome, and inaccessible for most people. Decentralized finance and Abra aims to change that for everyone.
How Decentralized Finance Makes Investing Accessible
Historically, global financial markets have been restricted to those with exactly the right contacts, in the right locations, and with vast amounts of wealth already at their disposal. Investing for the general population, however, was typically expensive, cumbersome, and inaccessible.
Fortunately, today’s infographic from Abra demonstrates how the decentralized financial market has brought about solutions to these hurdles.
Why Investing Should be More Accessible
Many factors such as theft, inflation, and political or economic shifts can erode personal wealth over time.
Being able to invest in the global financial market offers a hedge against these risks, and yet for those with modest resources and limited connections, investing has typically been out of reach.
Consider several well-known platforms or funds:
- Etrade ─ $500
- T. Rowe Price ─ $2,500
- Vanguard S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index Fund ─ $5,000,000
Investment minimums range from several hundred to several million dollars—making any hope of investing impossible for most.
This is especially urgent for the global middle class, which is expected to swell 180% by 2040. Having access to more avenues to build and protect wealth will be key to sustainable economic growth for a growing majority worldwide.
But how can people actually start investing if much of the current market is still too expensive?
Fractional Investing Offers Better Access
In the past, brokers were limited to buying and selling stocks as whole units.
Fractional investing, however, allows investors with a lower net worth to access valuable, expensive stocks. It also attracts investors that are less likely to buy and sell on a whim and instead focus on long-term growth.
Blockchain technology has been a key component in this democratization of global wealth—much like fractional investing—because people are no longer restricted by their resources, location, or lack of connections.
A New Wave of Investing
Decentralized finance is:
Users no longer need a third-party to verify their transactions.
Users can access decentralized financial markets from anywhere using their smart devices.
Every transaction is made publically viewable.
No one can make arbitrary changes or cause system-wide shutdowns.
Anyone can customize smart contracts based on regional and technical requirements.
Decentralized financial tools, using blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are providing excellent alternatives to building wealth by offering smaller investment minimums, lower fees, and faster transaction times.
The rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies introduced the world to the simple concept of fractional investing—owning extremely small fractions of digital currencies.
Now, investors can also own fractions of high-priced stocks, ETFs, fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, and stable coins, through Abra’s novel platform.
Abra: the Blockchain-based Investment App
Abra is the world’s first global investment app that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to make investing more accessible. Abra makes it fast and easy to manage your investments—all from one app.
- Simple: Easy to use and globally available, Abra’s app makes investing a breeze.
- Secure: Abra is secure and private—backed by blockchain and smart-contract technology—giving investors full control of their funds through non-custodial wallets.
- Fractionalized: Invest in partial shares of traditional and digital assets, starting at $5.
- Global: Trade, store value, and invest in a range of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, and stocks from 154 countries.
The Future of Investing
Historically, investing in equities has been a key to building personal wealth, and Abra’s technology allows more people around the world to access the same types of investments, no matter their location or income.
A survey of Abra users shows the democratization of investing in action:
Affordability: Most Abra users have roughly US$50 in their portfolios.
Security: Abra users enjoy privacy of information and full control of their assets.
Accessibility: A top priority for Abra users, they are able to invest in financial markets and expensive equities worldwide.
With its intuitive, global platform, Abra has introduced the future of investing for everyone.
“For the first time, we can truly democratize access to investment opportunities at global scale.”
—Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra
Everything You Need to Know About In-Situ Mining
There is a little know method of mining that does not move a rock, In-Situ Mining. Visual Capitalist outlines the process of mining in this unique way.
Everything You Need to Know About In-Situ Mining
How do you mine without moving a rock?
When most people think of mining they think of massive open pits or deep and winding underground tunnels. But there is one mining method that does not move a rock and leaves the landscape as is.
Today’s infographic from Excelsior Mining Corp. outlines a unique mining method, In-Situ Recovery “ISR”, also known as In-Situ Mining.
An Intro to In-Situ Mining
ISR is not a recent innovation in the mining sector. In fact, ISR has been used for the past 50 years in uranium mining, and 48% of the world’s uranium gets mined this way. Uranium is not the only mineral it can extract; there is also silver, copper, and sometimes gold.
ISR involves dissolving a mineral deposit in the ground and then processing it at surface, all without moving any rock. It is cost effective and environmentally friendly.
But if this method is so great, how come more companies do not mine this way?
The Right Geology
ISR is not widely used because the geological conditions have to be just right. There are few locations around the world that meet the following criteria:
- Highly permeable ore body. In the case of copper, the ore body must be naturally broken, fractured and permeable.
- Mineable. The target mineral must be soluble with the right fluid, typically a weak acid.
- Under the water table. The mineral deposit must be below the water table to allow for the movement of fluids throughout the ore body.
If geologists can find these conditions and it is a large enough mineral deposit, it is time to mine.
The ISR Process
Once the right conditions are met and drill holes are sunk into the ore body, mining can begin.
- Leaching solution is pumped through injection wells
- The solution moves through the naturally fractured rock and leaches the copper
- Recovery wells extract the copper-rich solution
- Solution is pumped to the surface to the plant for processing
- Copper is extracted from the solution to create pure copper sheets
- Mining solution is recycled back to the well field
Once an area is mined, the wells are flushed with water to clean out any remaining leaching solution. Meanwhile, the surface is returned back to pre-mining conditions, allowing it to be used for any purpose in the future.
Advantages of In-Situ Mining
The environmental advantages are clear, including: minimal noise, dust, or greenhouse gas emissions, along with minimal visual disturbance. In addition, it also lowers capital and operating costs while creating a safer environment for mine workers.
Too bad not all mines can operate without moving a rock.
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