The global metal mining industry is critically important in the struggle to arrest the effect of the global climate crisis within 20 years. Greater electrification of the economy is essential to reduce the effect of GHG in the atmosphere, but subsidies to reduce the consumption of carbon-based technologies will achieve nothing if the supply of metals for new, alternative technologies is insufficient or uncompetitive. Improving the performance of the metal mining industry within the next 5 years is critical because it is the only way to meet the increased demand for the metals that will power the technologies in the new, low-carbon economy, and do so at a price that competes with carbon-based technologies.
This will require transformative, disruptive change to the technology platforms of surface and underground mines, mine waste storage systems and mineral exploration. Given the time needed to bring new mineral discoveries into production, the climate-driven demand increase must be met by mines already in production or starting within 5 years. Later discoveries of large-scale ore deposits will be essential to prevent a return to carbon-based technologies.