Material and Resource Requirements for the Energy Transition

July 2023

In its latest report Material and Resource Requirements for the Energy Transition the ETC dives into the natural resources and materials needed to meet the needs of the transition. Large investments and strong policy support are needed to ensure that the supply of some key minerals grows quickly and sustainably over the next decade to meet rapidly growing demand.

There is no fundamental shortage of any of the raw materials to support a global transition to a net-zero economy: geological resources exceed the total projected cumulative demand from 2022-50 for all key materials, whether arising from the energy transition or other sectors.

However, even with strong action on innovation and recycling, scaling supply rapidly enough to meet demand growth between now and 2030 will be challenging for some metals, and mining will need to expand significantly.

Without strong action to improve materials efficiency, increase recycling or increase mined supply, there could be significant supply gaps for six key energy transition materials: lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt, neodymium and copper.

The analysis identifies four key actions policymakers, miners and manufacturers must take to reduce that risk and expand supply quickly and sustainably:

  • Building new mines and expanding existing supply of materials quickly
  • Building more diverse and secure supply
  • Driving sustainable and responsible material production
  • Boosting innovation and recycling to reduce pressure on primary supply

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