SMT007 Magazine

SMT007-Jun2022

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36 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2022 Nearly every technology and much of man- ufactured goods require mined elements. It is oen said, "If you don't grow it, you must mine it." Now more than ever, mined materials are in higher demand. Clean energy initiatives are supported by technologies that demand more and more strategic and critical minerals. Reconciling the Supply and Demand Low-carbon technologies are projected to increase the need for critical minerals up to 1000% by 2050. From electric vehicles (EVs) to solar photovoltaic (PV) industries, every clean technology requires strategic minerals for production and distribution, but most of all in storage (batteries). Batteries have existed since the late 1800s and currently have many advanced formulations, including one of the most popular modern energy storage prod- ucts: lithium-ion batteries, or LIBs. ese are high-capacity long-life batteries commonly used for small scale applications. With proper modifications they offer the most promise to eventually power large-scale applications. Minerals Critical to Energy Storage e amount of electrical storage for EV bat- teries ranges from 70 kWh to 200 kWh. Keep in mind that one 70 kWh EV battery requires 30 pounds of battery-quality nickel, 10 pounds of cobalt, and 140 pounds of lithium. Develop- ment, testing, and production of battery tech- nology requires hey amounts of these three minerals, two of which the U.S. does not pro- duce, nor possess, a national supply or reserve. Critical Move to Production While the U.S. has dropped low on the charts in production of strategic minerals, coun- tries including Canada and Australia, each of which maintain equally stringent environmen- tal permitting laws, are producing and export- ing seven of the top critical minerals (cobalt, gallium, beryllium, graphite, tellurium, lith- ium, platinum elements, and others). Australia and Canada have balanced the importance of domestically supplied strategic minerals with tightly structured oversight and a regulated statutory two-year environmental permitting process. While regulatory oversight in these coun- tries outpaces U.S. processes, expanded part- nerships with Australia and Canada, such as the Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative, try to bolster and maintain a diversified supply of critical minerals among the three countries. e relationship with our three countries notwithstanding, mining investors are still oen deterred from funding projects in the U.S. due to unreasonably long lead times to obtain approval or rejection for permitting a proposed project. is has put U.S. mining on the ropes at a time when the clean energy industry needs mineral development most. Both industries—low-carbon technology and mining—have a vested interest in finding solu- tions that match their needs, but will they find the common ground to collaborate and drive innovation closer toward carbon net-zero? A Closer Look at Critical Minerals Understanding the strategic minerals neces- sary for a robust and sustainable energy effi- cient technology industry is important for achieving a stable, productive future for our economy and national security. Here is snap- shot of three of the most critical minerals to clean energy. Cobalt Access to critical minerals that are instru- mental in battery technology entails navigating environmental issues and political landscapes. One of the most precarious of these, the Dem- ocratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is home to 50% of the global supply of cobalt. Cobalt, the most expensive and the rar- est mineral critical to battery development, is oen referred to as the "blood diamond of bat- teries" based on practices that endanger the child workforces in the mines. Human rights

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