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New study: Access to metals and minerals sets the pace of the climate transition

  • 2021-09-27
  • 10:44
  • News

The most important driving force for increased demand for many metals until 2050 will be the climate transition, a new report from Svemin which is launched today Monday shows. The level of climate policy ambition will therefore be directly related to the availability of raw materials.
“The faster we want to switch to a net zero society, the higher the demand for metals,” says Katarina Nilsson, project manager for the study.

We are facing an unprecedented climate challenge. The UN’s climate panel IPCC sounds the alarm in its latest report and shows that the ongoing climate change is both more extensive and faster than the most gloomy forecasts. How the world acts over the next few years will be crucial in avoiding even more catastrophic climate effects.

However, phasing out the use of fossil energy sources and replacing them with alternative energy sources creates challenges. In the EU’s industrial strategy, the European Commission points out that dependence on fossil fuels risks being replaced by dependence on metal and mineral raw materials.

– They are absolutely right about that, says Katarina Nilsson. Wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, electric cars – most technologies that will help us switch to climate neutrality require that we have access to metals and minerals. The question is how much metals and minerals will be needed to achieve political climate goals and how much of this need can be covered by recycling.

Sweden is the EU’s most mining nation and has great potential to contribute with both primary mining and recycling. However, there has been a lack of an overall scientific picture of society’s need for metals and minerals, linked to Sweden’s potential to contribute to meeting that need.

– A conclusion in the report is that the most important individual driving force for increased demand for most metals until 2050 will be the climate transition. Thus, the level of ambition in the climate transition work will greatly affect the demand for these metals, says Katarina Nilsson. At the same time, the analysis shows that recycling is important but is not expected to be able to cover emerging demand by more than 15–26 percent until 2050.

The Swedish mining industry is at the forefront of global sustainable mining. The climate footprint for metals produced here in Sweden is already low in a global comparison and the goal is to be completely fossil-free by 2045.

– With an increased need for metals, it becomes even more important that the metals we produce for the climate transition are produced in a climate-smart way, products that Sweden’s mining, mineral and metal producers can contribute, says Katarina Nilsson.

>>> The report in Swedish can be downloaded from Svemin’s website from 12.00 today Monday. The report will be translated into English and will be available shortly. When the English version is finished, an English launch will also take place. Information about this will come in due course.

Today’s launch will be held in Swedish on Svemin’s Youtube channel


More information
Katarina Nilsson, Expert R&D, Svemin and project manager
+46 (0)70 508 37 24, katarina.nilsson@svemin.se

> Interview with project manager Katarina Nilsson

> Download the report: The Nordic Supply Potential of Critical Metals and Minerals for a Green Energy Transition


About the report Climate ambitions and metal needs – opportunities for Sweden and the Swedish mining industry

Fact compilation and analysis of data has been performed by Material Economics on behalf of Svemin. Authors at Material Economics are Karl Murray and Per Klevnäs. The report has been produced within the framework of the project Society’s future need for metals and minerals for a sustainable and digital society in a 2030 and 2050 perspective. Svemin is the initiator and project owner for the project, which ran from December 2020 to August 2021. Project leader: Katarina Nilsson, Svemin.

The project is part of, and funded by, Swedish Mining Innovation, the strategic innovation program for the Swedish mining and metal extraction industry, which is a joint venture by Vinnova, Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency.