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We’re gonna need a bigger shovel

The transition to a net-zero economy will be metal-intensive. New technologies will require base metals—for example, copper for electrification and nickel for battery EVs. Green technologies will also need hefty amounts of rarer metals, such as lithium and cobalt for batteries, tellurium for solar panels, and neodymium for the permanent magnets used both in wind power generation and EVs. The required pace of transition means that, for some of these commodities, we will soon need ten times or more than is available today.

While steel will be crucial as an infrastructure enabler for all technological transition, specific elements will play an important role in each technology.
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To read the article, see “The raw-materials challenge: How the metals and mining sector will be at the core of enabling the energy transition,” January 10, 2022.