Its environmental and social impacts can make mining hard to square with a responsible investment approach. As the world shifts away from fossil fuels – a move that increases demand for ‘transition metals’ – we explore the need to think again.
The mining sector has a range of serious, inherent environmental and social impacts that can make it extremely hard to square with a responsible investment approach. Its very business model is based on the extraction and utilisation of the earth’s finite resources. When poorly planned, projects can also run into land rights issues or impact sites of cultural or natural importance. Badly managed mining waste products have been found to pollute local water resources or lead to disasters like the 2019 Brumadinho tailings dam collapse in Brazil that killed 270 people. Additionally, the metals and mining industry contribute around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
However, society is increasingly reliant on the sector’s outputs as we seek to accelerate the energy transition, which is already driving increased demand for “transition metals” like copper, nickel, cobalt and lithium. We have examined transition metals’ role in decarbonisation, and therefore whether they can be considered a responsible investment, focusing on copper as one of the more commonly used metals, with clearer data on demand growth and end usage.
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Read more about the growing demand for transition metals and the need to balance growing hunger for the likes of copper with socio-environmental impacts. Download the full viewpoint to discover more.