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The critical minerals race to net zero

Time (GMT +01) 09:00 10:30
Image credit:Underground mine and mineral extraction machine | Adobe Stock/Peruphotoart – stock.adobe.com


The global demand for critical minerals – those that are essential to the economy and whose supply may be disrupted – is expected to soar in coming years. As countries transition to low-carbon economies and high-tech industries continue to grow, rare earth elements and minerals such as aluminium, copper and cobalt have a crucial role in the development of electricity networks, electronic vehicles, renewable energy and more.

This event follows the 2023 G20 Summit in India, where the resilience of critical minerals is set to be featured, at a time when large economies such as the European Union (EU), the US and Japan are publishing their own critical mineral strategies seeking to diversify supply chains – over which China currently dominates. Speakers will explore the geopolitical drivers of the race for critical minerals, discussing whether these have spurred investment in the mining sector and the opportunities this creates for resource-rich developing and emerging economies, as well as the resulting (geo)political, environmental, and social risks these countries must navigate. The event will also delve into the changing approaches to risk management in an increasingly volatile global landscape where multiple threats – geopolitical volatility, economic inequality and climate change – are shaping policy and regulatory responses.

Mongolia, for example, with plans to tap into global copper demand through the launch of underground operations at Oyu Tolgoi mine, must navigate risks of high-resource dependency. Ukraine, hoping the industry will play an important role in the country’s future reconstruction, must navigate a complex geopolitical landscape and ensure that the industry improves ESG performance.

This public, online-only event will bring together aspects of ODI’s existing work on economic development in resource-rich countries, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Speakers for the event will be announced soon.

This is the first instalment in ODI’s ‘New geopolitics of transition’ series, which will explore different global and regional transitions that are shaping 21st century risks and opportunities across our world. Events will focus on transitions in energy, geopolitics and technology, considering the impacts of each on specific sectors such as digital infrastructure and global supply chains. It is hosted by ODI's Global Risks and Resilience (GRR) programme.