World Bank report: Demand for minerals such as copper, lithium and cobalt will soared on increased use of clean energy by 2050

According to the report “Minerals for climate action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition”, the use of certain minerals could grow by 450% in the future, thanks to the increase in the use of renewable energy like solar, wind and geothermal.

The goal is ambitious, but not impossible. Lowering the global temperature between 1.5°C and 2°C and reducing carbon emissions, are part of the plan that seeks to combat climate change by 2050, and where minerals will play a fundamental role in achieving this.

According to the document “Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition”, prepared by the World Bank, the use of certain minerals such as graphite, lithium and cobalt will intensify until reaching an increase of 450% to 2050 in relation to 2018, and thus meet the demand required for technologies associated with the production of clean energy.

In this sense, the report estimates that more than 3 billion tons of minerals and metals will be needed to boost the use of energy such as solar, wind and geothermal, as well as for energy storage.

Although the demand for base minerals such as copper and aluminum seem to be lower in relation to those mentioned above, the truth is that the production levels required by then would reach 29 million tons and 103 million tons respectively.

The document indicates that, in order to respond to the growing demand, in the case of copper and aluminum, it cannot be satisfied only by the recycling and reuse of minerals, so mining will continue to play a fundamental role in the response to the demand.

On the other hand, the report highlights that some minerals, such as copper and molybdenum -where Chile is one of the protagonists in global production, with 28% and 22% respectively-, will be used in a greater variety of technologies, while others, such as graphite and lithium, would be necessary for a single technology: battery storage. In this particular case, any technological change could have significant consequences on the demand for these minerals.