Achieving Net Zero by 2050 requires a significant increase in the supply of technology and battery metals to meet the needs of the renewable energy, storage, electric vehicle and consumer electronics industries. Mining and extraction of these metals will play a key role in meeting future sustainability goals and energy demands.
What part does the tech metal sector play in helping to meet future energy needs?
Meeting energy demands and creating a sustainable future for our energy consumption is one of the world’s most significant challenges. Technology and battery metals are indispensable in achieving Net Zero targets, and in the development and production of renewable technologies. The technology metals sector is essential in supplying the raw materials to build an environmentally sustainable future.
What materials are you currently seeing an increase in demand for and why – what role do they play?
There is increased demand for metals such as Copper, Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese, Vanadium, Lithium, as well as Rare Earth Elements, Scandium and Graphite. These metals have unique electrical and electrochemical properties essential to the development of high efficiency electrical, battery and energy storage technologies.
What technological innovations are being developed to enable the growth of the tech metal sector in order to meet demand?
The primary focus is innovation and development aimed at improving process efficiencies, reducing costs and investigating unconventional sources of supply. For example, Tetra Tech has developed a process to produce battery grade high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) from low grade manganese ore for its client Giyani Metals Corp. The Industry is increasingly concerned with the carbon footprint of their supply chain, this project also included a solar power (PV) array; photo-voltaics are also a major consumer of technology metals. Inclusion of renewable technology in mining projects addresses many of their sustainability and carbon footprint concerns.
What more can be done to help ease resource restraints within the sector?
Demand for technology metals is anticipated to expand exponentially and conventional sources of supply are finite. The future of the sector is dependent on the development of recycling technologies as well as new process technologies and innovations that will allow for the exploitation of alternative sources of supply. With growing demands comes the need for more investment allowing for the development of these projects.