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The energy transition: A mining and exploration industry perspective

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities, Conferences, Exploration, Future, Mineral Economics, Mineral Policy, Mining, PhD, Publications, Research, Strategy


Earlier in the year, I presented an abstract at the World Renewable Energy Congress, here in Perth. It was a different audience to my usual mining crowd, but nonetheless I think the presentation was of interest and seemed to generate more than a few questions. The presentation was entitled “The energy transition: A mining and exploration industry perspective”. It covered some scenario planning work done last year as part of my PhD research, and some earlier published research on the critical metals.

The presentation demonstrated why the mining sector will play a significant role in the energy transition. Many of the minor metals used in wind and solar power, and batteries, currently do not have large, reliable markets, thus production will have to be increased substantially to meet projected future demand. Few stocks exist above ground, and what do are often inaccessible in landfill or as minor components in products. Thrifting and substitution is not really an option as this risks de-railing the energy transition.

The presentation goes on to look at the intricacies of the renewable energy metals markets, how they might grow rpaidly, and two scenarios for the future world which we see the renewable energy markets operate in very different ways.

Both the presentation and abstract are available on Researchgate.

I’d like to thank my co-authors: Allan Trench (UWA), Josh Wright (Rowton), Sam Davies (UWA) and Aaron Dixon (UWA); and the original scenarios team: Campbell McCuaig (BHP), Jon Bell (Curtin), Jeremie Giraud (UWA), Constanza Jara Barra (UWA), Ahmad Saleem (UWA), Dave Stevenson (UWA), and Jan Tunjic (UWA) for their efforts in making this research what it is.