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Driving the Future of Green Metals – Challenges Become Opportunities

On Wednesday (September 9th), Investing in African Mining Indaba hosted a highly anticipated Green Metals webinar that featured senior representatives from Anglo American Platinum, Aberdeen Standard Investments, BMO Capital Markets and World Economic Forum. On the agenda were questions including “How will supply and demand for fuel cell and battery materials develop”, “Where is the sector going in the longer-term for the green market?” and “Is ESG lacking a fair case?”.

The rise of green metals has been of increasing interest for the industry in the last few years, with growth opportunity but also controversy from various jurisdictions on the sourcing of such metals raising the question of whether “green” is a fair moniker. It cannot be disputed, however, that with the 4th Industrial Revolution and the global push for energy transition upon us, the need for battery materials is becoming stronger than ever. Pressure is rising from investors, regulators and social activists.

It is now apparent from Wednesday’s Mining Indaba webinar that innovation and scaling-up is a must to move forward within the battery metals sector, incorporating several discussion points around how investors questions have changed over time, building efficiency into the operating business model, and pertinently what the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 will be on industry supply and demand, if any.

Mining Indaba’s Green Metals webinar was moderated by the World Economic Forum and included contribution from experts spanning the sector’s value chain – from investment and operators – who provided insights from their side of the green metals supply chain. Over the webinar hour, ESG emerged as one of the strongest themes, with speakers and viewers alike questioning the cost and impact of the extraction of “green metals”. It’s no secret that pressure to prioritise ESG factors is rising from investors, regulators and activists alike, and increasingly mining companies have no choice but to incorporate ESG targets in their operating plans to continue receiving investment.

Another statement all speakers agreed on concerned the “greening” of operations, with one speaker asserting that not being involved in recycling of battery materials going forward would be an error for any mining company. Meanwhile, Colin Hamilton, MD Commodities Research, BMO Capital Markets remarked “recycling of the key metals is a difficult task, but not impossible”.

Overall, the webinar outlined the challenges and opportunities of driving the future for green metals, which will no doubt explode in demand over the coming years. As many economies progress along their energy transitions, the global economy as a whole will depend on having enough of these materials in its transition towards electrification through lower-carbon energies and away from fossil fuels. Key learnings were that mining companies needs to stay looking investable and welcome the challenge that is yet to come, whilst improving sustainability metrics over time.

The webinar is available on-demand debating driving cleaner energy, examining platinum group metals used in hydrogen fuel cell technology and offer updates on cobalt supply for battery manufacturing. Watch now.

Continue the conversation live at Mining Indaba. The Green Metals Day will expand on our popular Battery Metals Day and showcase further innovations in fuel cell and clean energy technology. Register today.

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